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Can you help in finding an adjective or expression that you can use to tell a persons that they are fat or overweight in a as neutral as possible way. The overweight person in question is very sensitive to the issue so I need to address the problem in a delicate way.

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closed as off-topic by RegDwigнt Jun 11 at 15:20

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Why do you need to tell them something they already know? –  Matt Эллен Jun 11 at 9:41
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Rubenesque perhaps ? –  Frank Jun 11 at 10:05
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Is this really an EL&U question or more to do with etiquette? –  Jimi Oke Jun 11 at 14:09
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Is etiquette excluded from EL&U? There is a "politeness" tag. –  Leo King Jun 11 at 14:44
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This question is a duplicate of Euphemisms to replace "fat", which was deemed not constructive and deleted. Paraphrasing a fellow mod, the least offensive thing to do would be to not bring up that person's weight in the first place. Sugarcoating an offensive idea doesn't make it less offensive. Euphemisms for fat are a dime a dozen, and if you yourself can't think of a single one that fits, that's a sure sign you're doing something you shouldn't be doing. And you actually know that person; we are but a bunch of strangers off the Internet. –  RegDwigнt Jun 11 at 15:20

8 Answers 8

If you are saying it in a medical context, the word "overweight" is fine (it is standard). If you are saying it in any other context, I might reconsider saying it.

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Exactly this. Politeness is an action, not a word choice. –  Marthaª Jun 11 at 14:36
    
Pretty much nails it. It assumes Peter555 has any responsibility to tell the other party at all. Unless they are a caretaker, as a doctor, or some such, they don't have professional ethical reasons to. As a friend/relative, they could have personal reasons. If the former, then politeness is less important, the latter you need to ask 'why do I need to say anything?' or 'what do I gain by saying anything?' –  kevingreen Jun 11 at 15:26

The person has to understand that euphemisms for fat such as: corpulent, overweight, oversized, plus-sized, and well-built may be more sensitive terms but they are only sugarcoating the problem.

On the other hand, I don't necessarily believe telling someone they are fat is either helpful or constructive. Instead, addressing the issue with its correct medical term i.e. obesity is an act of responsibility and maturity.

Obesity is a medical condition in which excess body fat has accumulated to the extent that it may have an adverse effect on health, leading to reduced life expectancy and/or increased health problems

If you stress the fact that their health and lifespan is affected by their excess weight that may soften the blow. If, however, the term obesity is too derogatory, then I would suggest that you mention their BMI (body mass index), a high BMI indicates a serious risk of developing a number of diseases and ailments. The following table with its list of terms is a dispassionate, neutral and objective way to tell someone they are fat.

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Best left to a medical professional to determine BMI though. Simple weight/height calculations can be flawed. True calculation is done with a dunk tank of water. Other methods exist too, such as, Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis or using calipers. –  kevingreen Jun 11 at 15:32

There is probably no polite way to tell a sensitive person they are overweight, but I'm a big fan of "well-upholstered" from the list of synonyms for overweight:

corpulent, obese, pudgy, fat, gross, heavy, outsize, plump, stout, ample, bulky, fleshy, hefty, huge, massive, overfed, overstuffed, portly, rotund, upholstered

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Plush, fully packed, curvy, etc. –  Wayfaring Stranger Jun 11 at 11:12
    
And how can gross, overfed, overstuffed, hefty and huge be considered polite? Quite the opposite in fact. –  Mari-Lou A Jun 11 at 15:37
    
I didn't say they were polite. I just offered a list of synonyms so Peter could choose his own. –  Ronan Jun 12 at 8:38

Sturdy is yet another, but I like built for comfort, not for speed.

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Occasionally, I will hear a person say, in a relaxed fashion:

"You got some meat on your bones.

I can't say this is any less "offensive" to someone who is overweight -- I'm sure they're well aware of their situation, no matter how you phrase it -- but it is certainly less direct and a bit more light-hearted.

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I use these:

when I want them to shed off that pounds I say "you are meant for M size clothes." put any size you like.

if I wanna compliment his or her corpulent body, I say "you are well fed."

single words are corpulent, chubby, plump.

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I find that using positive language can often soften the blow. Rather than saying "overweight", try saying "underheight".

(tongue firmly in cheek).

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Or, you could give up and email them a link to this post. I believe you are a bit "A 'polite' way to say that someone is fat", so to speak. You might want to do something about it, I am concerned for your health.

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