Overview of Vocabulary Describing Physical Characteristics

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These words are used when describing people and their physical characteristics, including nouns and adjectives. Each word is placed into a related category and example sentences are used to provide context. 


baby - Everyone goes through a lot of diapers when they are a baby.
toddler - Toddlers take their first steps around the age of two.
child - Having a child is one of the great joys in life.
teenager - Many teenagers have to deal with a lot of stress because of testing.
teens - I played a lot of sports in my teens.
thirties/forties/ fifties - Most people have settled down by their forties.
young man/woman - That young man was very kind and gave me directions.
youth - We need to develop some more sports programs for the youth.

middle-aged (man/woman) - That middle-aged man asked me for directions.
elderly (man/woman) - Take time to listen to an elderly woman. She'll teach you a lot.
early /mid/late - He looks like he's in his mid-twenties.
about - She's about thirty years old.
thirtysomething - She told me that she's thirtysomething.

Describing How People Look / Seem

good-looking - He's a good-looking doctor with a wife and two kids.
beautiful - The beautiful actress turned to the cameras with a glowing smile.
pretty - He fell in a love with a pretty girl from Las Vegas.
cute - That guy is really cute! What's his name?
handsome - The handsome actor was famous for his love of riding horses.
glamourous - The glamorous couple climbed onto their private jet and flew to Paris.
elegant - She's an elegant woman with lots of poise.
sophisticated - He was a sophisticated man who enjoyed many different hobbies.
ugly - I look so ugly today! Why don't these pimples go away!
hideous - I haven't slept in three days. I must look hideous.
unsightly - He's worried that the scar is unsightly. 


fat - Unfortunately, Peter has become rather fat in his old age.
overweight - Many Americans are overweight these days.
slim - He's that slim guy standing next to Peter over there.
thin - Angela is tall, thin and very beautiful.
skinny - Many people might say that models are skinny these days. That's very different from being slim.
plump - If you drink a lot of beer, you'll certainly become plump.
stocky - He's a tall, stocky guy that looks like a lumberjack.
well built - Todd is very well built and looks great in a suit. 


pale - If you spend too much time indoors, you might become very pale.
tan - After two weeks on the beach, he was very tan.
clear - I was happy that I finally had a clear complexion when I become twenty.
good - He has good skin. I think he'd make a great model.
spotty - Older people often have spotty skin on their hands.
pimpled - I walked through the crowd of pimpled teenagers and knew I was in the wrong place!
freckles - The freckles on your cheeks make you so cute!
spots - I can't get rid of these spots on my hands.
pimples - I had so many pimples when I was a teenager. It drove me crazy!

Facial Features on Men

mustache - Curly mustaches are coming back into fashion in places like Portland.
clean-shaven - Most men in this city prefer a clean-shaven look these days.
beard - Some men wear a beard because they're lazy and don't want to shave.


long - Alice has long blonde hair.
short - I like to wear my hair short during the summer.
shoulder length - She has beautiful black shoulder-length hair. She looks like a movie star.
black / red / brown / grey / silver - Tom has thick black hair.
blonde - Hollywood tends to prefer blonde women for certain types of roles.
brunette - I have brunette, shoulder-length hair.
white - He's gone complete white in his old age.
curly - She likes to wear her hair curly.
spiky - Some punks like to wear spiky hair. 

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Beare, Kenneth. "Overview of Vocabulary Describing Physical Characteristics." ThoughtCo, Aug. 28, 2020, thoughtco.com/vocabulary-describing-physical-characteristics-4018889. Beare, Kenneth. (2020, August 28). Overview of Vocabulary Describing Physical Characteristics. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/vocabulary-describing-physical-characteristics-4018889 Beare, Kenneth. "Overview of Vocabulary Describing Physical Characteristics." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/vocabulary-describing-physical-characteristics-4018889 (accessed June 7, 2023).