Vocabulary Intermediate | Describing People's Appearance


What is this episode about?

Learn useful words and phrases you can use to describe appearance in this new Vocabulary Intermediate Series episode from English Plus Podcast.

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I am using an automatic transcript service as it is not possible for me to do it on my own and I cannot afford human transcription at the moment. The service claims to have about 95% accuracy, which means there will still be some mistakes, so my apologies for having a less than perfect transcript, but I hope I can afford human transcription soon and I will solve this problem. However, the service is pretty good, and the transcript is almost perfect.


Welcome to a new episode from English plus podcast. Today, we’re going to talk about vocabulary and we’re going to learn how to describe people’s appearance. We’re going to learn about the hair, the face skin, and complexion. Heightened build and how to talk about general appearance. But before we start, let me remind you that you can find the transcript of this episode in a link.

[00:00:27] I will leave in the description and you will also find a link to Patreon where you can go there and support English plus podcast. And there’s also another link that will take you to our mailing list. You can subscribe to our mailing list and get an update every two weeks on our latest episodes. And now with that being said, let’s not waste any more time.

[00:00:46] And let’s start with the topic of our episode today. And that is describing people’s appearance. Now, first let’s focus on talking about the hair, the face, the skin, and the complexion. Now here, when we want to talk about the hair, I want you to focus on a couple of things. First of all, we can talk about the hair.

[00:01:06] Usually we say, if it is long or short, we also say if the hair is straight. If it is wavy or curly, and here we can mix those together by saying she’s got straight hair or she’s got long, straight hair, or she’s got short, wavy hair, or she’s got long curly hair or short curly hair. And since we’re talking about the hair, let’s talk about the people without hair.

[00:01:32] And here, obviously we’re talking about men. If a person has no hair at all, we can say he is bold. B a L D bold and sometimes men grow facial hair, hair that grows on their face, and this can be a beard and mustache. Now sometimes of course it can be a beard alone or a mustache. Now, here, I want you to be careful because we’re talking about hair.

[00:01:58] There’s a couple of things that have to do with grammar that you need to know. For example, we say he’s bold, but not he’s a beard. He has a beard, or he’s got a beard. Well, that might be obvious. Or when we say she has straight hair, but here we need to focus on a thing with hair, with hair. We don’t use a, we don’t say she’s got a straight hair, a straight hair as if she only had a hair.

[00:02:26] No here it’s uncountable. We use hair without, and we don’t say hairs, obviously we don’t use it in plural. So be careful, don’t use it in plural talking about hair, obviously. And you will have to make a note or two, whether we say he is, or he has, she is, or she has. So here he is bold, but we say he has a beard and mustache, or he’s got a beard and mustache.

[00:02:54] Now we said that bowl. That means the man has no hair at all. He lost his hair, but what if you are starting to lose your hair, or if this person is starting to lose his hair, what do we say? We can say he’s got receding. Here. So receding here, that means this person is starting to lose his hair, but he is not bold yet.

[00:03:17] He’s got receding hair. Receding is spelled by the way, R E C E D I N G receding. And finally, there’s a special color. That’s not black and not white. Obviously when people grow old. Their hair becomes white or turns white, but this place in the middle, when you have white hair, but you still have some of the original color of your hair.

[00:03:40] So this is when we call your hair gray. So people can have black hair, white hair or gray hair. Now, obviously, if you remember, the Lord of the rings, Gandalf was great at the beginning, and then he became white and that showed in his hair too. So people can have black hair, gray hair or white hair, but that’s not everything.

[00:04:03] Of course, for the colors, we can use a blonde. We can use fair or dark fear. That means the color is light. It’s not exactly blonde, but the color is light and dark is dark, obviously, but you can say ginger haired person or red haired person. Or she has such beautiful Auburn hair. Auburn is a special word we use for hair.

[00:04:26] And that means red Brown. Now, with that being said, let’s talk a little bit about the face and the complexion. Now people can have a thin face and when they have a thin face. We say she’s got a thin face, but you can say it this way, which is the obvious way to say that. But you can also say she’s thin faced.

[00:04:47] You can use it as an adjective. You can say she’s got a thin face, or you can say she’s thin faced. You use thin faced as an adjective. What about if another person has around face? For example, he’s got around face and here we use the word face as a noun. So we say he has up Brown face, but we can also use that as an adjective and say he is, or she is obviously round faced.

[00:05:15] So remember that people can have a thin face or they can be thin faced and people can have around face or be round faced. Or of course there are other things you can use for face. Other than just the shape of the face. You can say that he has a chubby face. Now chubby technically means a little fat, but in a good way, this is a positive way to talk about a person’s chubby face.

[00:05:43] It’s not saying fat fat is negative. Don’t use fat. Don’t use it at all. It hurts people’s feelings. You can use other diplomatic words or positive words like this one. He has a chubby face. And if you want to picture that. Picture the image of babies with those big cheeks. That’s what we call a chubby face.

[00:06:03] Now that’s something positive. That’s something beautiful. So here we can use a chubby face to say a little fat. Yes, but in not in a negative way. And of course, when we grow old, we said that our hair turns white or gray, but that was about the hair. What happens to the face? Well, we can have a few wrinkles.

[00:06:24] Not only on the face, they can be on your neck too, but basically, you know, what shows the most or what people can see are the wrinkles on people’s faces wrinkles, by the way it’s spelled w R I N K L E S E S here, because it’s a plural. So obviously it could be just one. So here we can say he has got a few wrinkles.

[00:06:50] So that is another feature we can talk about when we want to describe people’s faces hair. But what about the skin now for the skin? Obviously we can say black and white or use the color exactly, but we can use fair and dark, just like we used with the hair. We can use it for complexion or skin. We can say fair skin or dark skin to talk about light or dark without saying black and white.

[00:07:15] But of course, when we talk about the skin, it’s not only talking about the original color of the skin. People can get a 10 and we can talk about that. Some people like getting a tan in summer, and that is when you expose your skin to the sun so that it goes darker. And this is the expression. I got a 10.

[00:07:33] He has a 10, he’s got a 10 or she’s got a 10 and sometimes it’s so beautiful. Sometimes it doesn’t work the way you want it. And instead of getting a 10, you get sunburned. And that usually happens when you expose your skin too much to the sun or for long hours. So instead of getting a nice stand, you get sunburned.

[00:07:56] That being said, we talked about the hair, the face, the skin, the complexion. Obviously there are a lot of other words, but at this level, I hope you’ve learned a thing or two that you haven’t learned before about how to describe hair, face, skin, and complexion. But now let’s move on and talk about how we can describe height and build.

[00:08:15] Remember this episode is specifically dedicated to talk about how we can describe people’s appearance. So let’s talk about height and build. The word fat. I just said it before. The word fat is usually an impolite word, although it is not by itself an insult, but people get kind of touchy when they hear this word said about them.

[00:08:37] So you don’t have to use it, especially if there are some other words that are more diplomatic and to be honest, a little bit more okay. To be used. So instead of saying to someone that you are fat, which. Is an insult. Try to avoid this word completely as much as you can. Instead, you can say rather plump.

[00:08:59] Or stout now, plum P L U M P plump plump means overweight. Maybe technically it means fat, but it’s a nicer word to use, or we can use stout the same way or a bit overweight. That is a more diplomatic way to say to somebody you are fat. Don’t say you are fat. This is usually negative and offensive. So we have plump stout or a bit overweight.

[00:09:25] But of course, when we want to describe the weight, it’s not always about that. If someone is broad and solid, like an athlete or something, we can say they are stocky. Now a stocky person, as we said, has a body that is broad, solid, and often not always short. These are usually strong people. Since we’re talking about the Lord of the rings, you can remember Gimli for example, Gimli is a dwarf, of course, stocky people don’t have to be dwarves, but if you want to describe how Gimli looks like specially is build, you can say Gimli is stocky.

[00:10:01] He is broad and solid. So people can also have good muscles and a person with good muscles can be well-built or muscular. And we usually use that to talk about men. Now, of course, at the beginning, I told you, fat is a negative word. Try not to use it, but sometimes especially in medical contexts, when someone is very fat.

[00:10:24] He, or she can be described as obese now, obese all B E S E. That means very fat, but that is usually used when talking in a medical context. So we talked about fat well-built muscular plump, stout, stocky, but what about the opposite? Someone who is thin can be described as slim. And that is a very positive word.

[00:10:48] When you say someone is slim, that means you like it. You like the way they look, but if it is too much and you want to say it in a negative way, you can say skinny, skinny is too thin. So remember the opposite of fat is not just slim or skinny. Yes, they are slim and skinny, but slim is a positive way of being thin.

[00:11:09] Skinny is a negative way of being thin. Or of course you can use thin, which is a little bit neutral. It’s not positive or negative. And you can also say that someone has a nice figure. And we usually use that to talk about women, but if someone has a nice figure, they have an attractive shape. Obviously they are slim.

[00:11:29] But on top of that, they have a nice figure. Everything is proportionate in a way that you like, and that is of course the way you like it, the way people see each other, there is no rule to say how. Uh, how much you should wait to be slim or skinny. Of course, these things are words that you can use to describe people, but these things are subjective.

[00:11:49] It depends on the way you see it. So with that being said, that’s how we talk about height and build. But now let’s move on and talk about a couple of words we use to describe general appearance. Now for general appearance, let’s talk about the way people dress. Now, if we say for example, she’s a very smart and elegant woman.

[00:12:08] Always well-dressed her husband is quite the opposite. So here we use the word smart. Maybe you think to yourselves smart. Well, we’re talking about intelligence aren’t we? Yes, of course. Smart can be used to talk about an intelligent person. We can say she is very smart and that means she’s very intelligent, but we can also use smart to talk about how elegant she is.

[00:12:32] She dresses appropriately and elegantly. Now, of course, if you describe a person or thing as elegant, you mean that they are pleasing and graceful in appearance or style. And we also use the word well-dressed she dresses well, so we can use it as an adjective and say well-dressed, but we said her husband is quite the opposite.

[00:12:54] Very scruffy and untidy looking or messy looking. So here we have the word scruffy, S C R U F F Y. What does it mean to have scruffy someone who is scruffy is dirty and untidy. We can use it for things as well, but here we’re talking about her husband. He is scruffy, just the opposite. His wife is very smart and elegant.

[00:13:18] Always well-dressed the husband is just the opposite. Scruffy untidy looking, or we can say messy looking. So that was about the way people dress. What about how attractive people are? We can use a couple of words for that, but we can say, for example, Chloe looked stunning in her red dress. Very attractive.

[00:13:38] If you want to say very attractive, instead of saying very attractive use one word, that means the same. And it’s a lot stronger. Stunning. S T U N N I N G. Chloe looked stunning in her red dress, very attractive. Or if it is not that much, you can say he’s very good looking. Well, good looking is a positive word is a good word to use, but not stunning.

[00:14:02] Not that much or the opposite of stunning and attractive. He’s very good looking, but his friend is rather unattractive and that is obviously the opposite of attractive. And sometimes you may want to talk about some attractive part in somebody’s face. For example, you can say her eyes are her best feature.

[00:14:23] Her eyes are her best feature. When we say her best feature, that means the most attractive part of her face. And of course we have words to describe how beautiful people are now. When we say the word beautiful itself, we usually use it for women. We use for men handsome instead of beautiful, we use pretty for women, but you know, beauty is not everything.

[00:14:45] If you think about it, do you think beauty matters most or personality matters most for some people they may think beauty matters most now for me personally, I believe that both are important, but I kind of prefer personality because that lasts beauty doesn’t last forever. So here, what I think about beauty and personality.

[00:15:05] And next time, when we have vocabulary intermediate, we will talk about how we describe people’s personalities. But to be honest, the appearance is also important because that governs first impressions. First impressions are always important. So sometimes you may not be that handsome or that beautiful.

[00:15:25] You may be good looking, but it’s not the end of the world. If you don’t treat yourself like that, other people won’t treat you like that. And you won’t feel that you are any kind of less than anybody. Remember personality matters most. At least that’s what I think. I hope you think the same way, but as first impressions are always important.

[00:15:44] You have to take care of your appearance. You have to look smart, elegant well-dressed as much as you can, especially if you have job interviews, looking scruffy, untidy, or messy all the time that doesn’t help. Even if you’ve got the best personality in the world, but you’re always scruffy untidy looking well, people will not have the best first impression of you.

[00:16:06] So that is all to say that the word first impression we use it a lot. First impressions are always important. But what’s more important personality, which we will talk about next time in vocabulary, intermediate series from English plus podcast. Now that being said, that will be all I wanted to share with you today.

[00:16:24] Remember that you can find the transcript of this episode in a link. I will leave in the description. You will also find two links, one that will take you to Patreon. If you really like the content we’re creating here in English plus podcast. Please support us and become a patron of the show on Patreon.

[00:16:40] And you can also subscribe to our mailing list and get updates on our schedule every two weeks along with other things that we will share with our mailing list subscribers, that is all for this episode. Thank you very much for listening to another episode from English plus podcasts. This is your host, Danny.

[00:16:55] I will see you next time.


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<a href="https://englishpluspodcast.com/author/dannyballanowner/" target="_self">Danny Ballan</a>

Danny Ballan


Danny is a podcaster, teacher, and writer. He worked in educational technology for over a decade. He creates daily podcasts, online courses, educational videos, educational games, and he also writes poetry, novels and music.

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