mid-15c., "pleasing to the eye (or ear) or mind or soul," from beauty + -ful. The beautiful people "the fashionable set" first attested 1964 in "Vogue" magazine (it also was the title of a 1941 play by U.S. dramatist William Saroyan). As a noun, "that which possesses beauty," from 1756. House Beautiful is from "Pilgrim's Progress," where it is a proper name of a place. Related: Beautifully.