"looking well, aesthetically befitting," 1560s, from earlier sense of "fitting, proper" (early 13c.), present-participle adjective from become. Related: Becomingly; becomingness.
Entries linking to becoming
Meaning "change from one state of existence to another" is from 12c. Older sense preserved in what has become of it? It drove out Old English weorðan "to befall." Meaning "to look well, suit or be suitable to" is early 14c., from earlier sense of "to agree with, be fitting or proper" (early 13c.).
c. 1200, "decent, suitable, proper to the time, place, circumstances, or persons;" late 14c., "handsome, fair, graceful, pleasing in appearance" (of a man, woman, or thing), probably from Old English cymlic "lovely, splendid, finely made," from cyme "exquisite, glorious, delicate," which is apparently from West Germanic *kumi- "delicate, feeble" (source also of Old High German chumo "with difficulty," chumig "weak, delicate;" German kaum "hardly, scarcely"). OED compares the sense range of nice.
Or perhaps the modern word is from Middle English bicumelic (c. 1200) "suitable, exquisite," literally "becomely" (compare becoming). If this is not the source, it at least influenced the vowel. Related: Comelily; comeliness.
updated on April 26, 2017
her becoming modesty
a becoming new shade of rose
a becoming portrait