How to describe body shapes

When we describe people’s body shapes, it is important to know which words are used for particular persons with particular physical qualities for accuracy and appropriateness.

These are some of the common words used to describe body shapes:


*Fat (impolite): having a large amount of excess fat. Large or heavy is less offensive.

*Overweight/obese (medical or impolite): too fat.

*Portly (especially of middle-aged or old men): fat and round.

*Rotund: fat and round.

*Plump: slightly fat in an attractive way.

*Chubby (especially of children): fat in a pleasant, healthy-looking way.

*Tubby: short and fat.

*Stocky: fairly short, strong, broad around the shoulders and chest.

*Stout (especially of older people): having a round and heavy appearance.



*Thin: having too little flesh on the bone.

*Skinny: very thin and unattractive.

*Bony: very thin with visible bones.

*Elfin: small and delicate.

*Gangly, gangling (especially of a boy or young man): tall, thin, moves awkwardly.

*Lanky: tall, thin, moves awkwardly.

*Scrawny: thin with visible bones.

*Gaunt: having a thin face, sometimes as a result of illness.

*Emaciated: thin in a dangerous way due to illness or hunger.

*Scraggy: very thin and looking unhealthy.

*Spindly: tall, thin, looking weak.

*Anorexic (medical): thin in a dangerous way due to voluntarily eating too little.

*Cadaverous: pale, thin, and ill.

*Rangy: having long thin legs and arms.

*Slim: pleasantly or attractively thin.

*Slender: thin, delicate and attractive.

*Petite: short and thin.

*Lean: thin and fit or strong.

*Willowy (especially of women): attractively tall and thin.

*Lithe: thin, not stiff, graceful.

*Wiry: thin, strong and able to bend easily.

*Lissome: attractively thin, able to move smoothly and quickly.

*Svelte: attractively thin and elegant.

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