Belle vs beau

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Belle is a noun for a gorgeous female, sometimes signified as the most gorgeous at a particular gathering. It is pronounced like bell. It comes from French and is the feminine version if beau.

Beau is French and literally means handsome or beautiful in the masculine form. However, the word in English is used to describe a woman’s male companion, such as a boyfriend or admirer. The plural form has two spellings. The original French is beaux  while the English version is beaus, with the French version being vastly more common than the English though both are equally correct.

Sometimes one will see ex-beau, which is simply a former lover or boyfriend. This spelling is not officially listed in the dictionary and should be used with caution.


International weekend finals are in from all of the studios with Cinderella the belle of the ball again after ceding the crown to Insurgent‘s Tris last frame. [Deadline]

Popular in the 1950s and 1960s, Cypress Gardens featured Southern belles in large hoop skirts walking around the carefully manicured grounds greeting guests. [CNN]

Police in Cagliari, Sardinia, analysed the handkerchief, a letter the countess had penned to her beau and an ivory toothbrush conserved in the archives of the Vittoriale degli Italiani foundation. [The Guardian]

With more than a nod to Shakespeare, the young ladies and two beaux then spend a midsummer night on a nearby hill. [The Independent]

Lola lives vicariously through the young boarder and her beaus, and Doc romanticizes the young woman. [The Boston Globe]

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