Browse by letter

Handsome is as handsome does

Good living is more important that good looks. ‘Handsome’ means not only ‘good-looking, of fine appearance’, but also ‘generous’. It denotes chivalrous or genteel behaviour, though it is often popularly taken to refer to good looks. At its second occurrence in the proverb the word is properly an adverb.

‘But he’s such a handsome, chivalrous, man.’ Handsome is as handsome does, thought York grimly.
[A. Williamson Funeral March for Siegfried xxiv, 1979]