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Though coined in the middle 19th century, the adjective Rubenesque has flourished during the last decade or so as a polite way of saying plump, full, or round, especially in describing a woman. The word refers to the Baroque painter Peter Paul Rubens, many of whose works depict full-figured women. The word should properly be Rubensesque—and the OED, for one, lists it with the extra s—but it is only rarely spelled this way.

The R in Rubenesque is usually capitalized. If the word remains in the language much longer, it may eventually lose the capital.


In the middle of the beach, we were surrounded by stick figures with Rubenesque bosoms. [Brisbane Times]

The actress’s ornate dress struggled under the strain of her Rubenesque figure. [Daily Mail]

On a recent Sunday, Rubenesque clouds flew across the sky pricking Chicago’s skyscrapers with bulbous formations. [Chicago Tribune]

Sports enjoyed by people with Rubenesque proportions, like floating, will come into vogue. [New York Times]