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What is a common adjective to describe a guy with a nice physique?

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closed as off-topic by BiscuitBoy, Nathaniel, sumelic, tchrist, Mazura Feb 28 at 0:50

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "Questions on choosing an ideal word or phrase must include information on how it will be used in order to be answered. For help writing a good word or phrase request, see: About single word requests" – BiscuitBoy, Nathaniel, sumelic, tchrist, Mazura
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

Consider Hunk, from TFD

a large, strong, sexually attractive man.

"a Hollywood hunk"

synonyms: muscleman, strongman, macho

To use it as an adjective, try hunky.

"The sexy stars fell out over hunky footballer Lee"

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Well, not an area of the language that I commonly delve into, but for those with a classical bent there's Adonis.

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I like this answer, especially for its classical bent, but my sense of Adonis is that it refers to a man who's all-around gorgeous, face included, and doesn't restrict itself to simply "men who have nice bodies or physiques", as hunk/beefcake etc do. – Dan Bron Feb 27 at 14:32
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How's that an adjective? – NVZ Feb 27 at 14:48
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@HotLicks Yeah, English simply works, just like you verbed the noun adjective – NVZ Feb 27 at 14:53
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@Nathaniel - A low-quality post that earned a "Nice Answer" badge. – Hot Licks Feb 27 at 21:56
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Heh, nice. Still, though, be careful with correlating votes and quality; it might force you to admit that this is the 10th best answer in ELU's history. =) – Nathaniel Feb 27 at 22:00

There is a pitfall here in that some of the available words (of which there are not many specifically for physique) have a connotation of physical attraction of the speaker to the male subject.

Types of body-describing adjectives include :

  • relatively objective physical judgement analogous to Body Mass Index. Chiseled, built, ripped essentially state that the person is in the upper percentiles of muscularity. Fit is less specific, but conveys the same judgement for overall physical fitness. One can imagine these words as a condensed summary of medical and athletic tests, and they say nothing about what the speaker finds attractive or not.

  • a relatively distanced social judgement such as movie-star good looks or handsome. These describe a presumed typical response of the "average person on the street" to the subject's appearance, or how that appearance fits some presumed norms of beauty. Strapping is one of the very few words in this category that might apply to male physique.

  • breathless adjectives like hunk (hunky even more so), beefcake, and in some contexts Adonis, that sound like they are drawn from conversations of male homosexuals or teenage girls about men they find attractive. Using these words can create the impression that the speaker is describing their own attraction to the subject beyond what the general population might see in the same male.

A test for neutrality versus breathless praise might be: would one heterosexual male talking to another plausibly use the term about a third? In the environments I'm familiar with, studly passes this test, hunky fails it badly, Adonis sometimes passes and often fails.

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+1 Now that's a great explanation. – NVZ Feb 27 at 18:12
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Unfortunately, the connotation of a given term can be highly dependent on current terminology among various segments of society, and it's hard to predict (without being privy to the segment's lingo) what will have a neutral connotation vs what will have strong off-color sexual implications. – Hot Licks Feb 27 at 18:56
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Solid. However ripped/chiseled refer not so much to muscularity but to low body-fat level won top of that muscularity (with subtle distinctions between the two as some wouldn't call a ripped mass monster chiseled). – A.S. Feb 27 at 19:01

Consider,

studly

Slang. virilely attractive; muscular and handsome. [1955–60]

stud: Slang. a usually young man regarded as attractive and well-built. FOD

hot

Slang. sexually attractive. FOD

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I was thinking about well-built itself. I think it works too. – haha Feb 27 at 20:02

Handsome as a Greek god

Example: As handsome as a Greek god and as careless of human life, his perfect face is a mask that hides an awesome cruelty.

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This might look fine, but OP asked for a single word. – NVZ Feb 27 at 18:27

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