- Is "Milk and honey" a way to describe curvy women or does it mean something different?
When used figuratively, the phrase ‘land of milk and honey’ refers to the fertility and abundance of any land or nation, it was originally used in the Bible to describe Israel, and is found in Leviticus 20:24, and Numbers 16:13, among several other references.
But I have said unto you, you shall inherit their land, and I will give it unto you to possess it, a land that flows with milk and honey: I am the LORD your God, who has separated you from other people..
Is it a small thing that you have brought us up out of a land that flows with milk and honey, to kill us in the wilderness, that you make yourself altogether a prince over us?
That imagery is especially fixed among American English speakers, it would be unthinkable for them to adopt the binomial pair ‘milk and honey’ for that of the undulating curves of a woman.
However, taken separately, the two terms could describe a person's character or physical appearance.
William Shakespeare used the term milk in Macbeth to represent the purity and goodness of a person, as in:
- The milk of human kindness
For William Wells Newell, the bosom and skin of a woman was compared to that of milk
- Down she comes as white as milk,
A rose in her bosom, as soft as silk.
- sweet as honey
very sweet; charming.
The nonreversible word pair, milk and honey, is used metaphorically in the Song of Solomon 4:11 when the author compares the idyllic ingredients to the taste of a woman's mouth, thereby promising sweetness and fertility.
Your lips drop sweetness as the honeycomb, my bride;
milk and honey are under your tongue.
The fragrance of your garments is like the fragrance of Lebanon
The OP asked:
- Anyway, is there an equivalent term for a curvy woman in English?
There are a number of suitable expressions which I have listed. Apologies to those users who already suggested a few of these.
- busty - o̶p̶u̶l̶e̶n̶t̶ [ambiguous] - pneumatic
- buxom - Rubenesque - well-endowed
- curvaceous - shapely - well proportioned
- curvy - smoking hot [equivocal] - zaftig
- full-figured - thick
- an hourglass figure - voluptuous
For a more modern approach, there's the adjective thick which is also used to describe a woman who has, let's say, some extra flesh on her bones, but is not the F-word (i.e. fat). Not to be confused with the derogatory meaning 4. Of low intelligence; stupid, this sense of thick is described on Urban Dictionary as referring to:
A woman with a perfect body, filled-in in places that are, by nature, designed to attract the opposite sex, such as the thighs, the hips, the breasts, and the most lovely part of all, the booty.
Urban Dictionary 2nd definition; October 21, 2004; 4,601 ‘thumbs up’.
The hourglass shape
The 1920s saw the emergence of the young slim boyish look, women who followed this look were called flappers but as the century progressed, the ideal size of both the breasts and buttocks increased. From the 1950s to 1960 women's breasts became larger and distinctively pointier due to the popularity of the bullet bra. This accentuated the waist to hip ratio, and led to the comeback of 19th century craze of corsets and girdles, as can be seen on the lovely Sophia Loren in the OP's post. The image below shows the "ideal" hourglass shape and an exaggerated wasp waist that nevertheless remained popular until the the Twiggy look dominated the covers of fashion magazines from the mid-sixties.