1

In Czech there is a term used for curvy women:

krev a mlíko

"Krev a mlíko" means "blood and milk". In this term, "blood" is a reference to red cheeks on a girl (which was considered a sign of health) and "milk" was probably a reference to the fact that milk was considered a healthy part of the diet. It may have also been a euphemism for breasts.

Anyway, is there an equivalent term for a curvy woman in English? Is "Milk and honey" a way to describe curvy women or does it mean something different?

By curvy, I mean the classical hourglass shape — i.e. the right waist-to-hip ratio. Something like this:

A picture of a woman with a curvy or hourglass figure.

  • 1
    This might be a difficult question to answer, because most of the terms I can think of to describe the woman on the top could also be applied to the woman on the bottom. (One person's complimentary adjective is another person's euphemism.) The first few suggestions that came to my mind were buxom, ample-figured, and Ruebenesque. One could use buxom, I suppose, but you might need to rely on context to unequivocally ensure the right meaning comes across. But to answer your original question, no, you wouldn't use "milk and honey." – J.R. Oct 22 '13 at 10:17
  • 1
    "...creating homogeneity in the female group and, therefore, leaving little room for individuality. In fact, the media dictate who women are, for instead of portraying real women, the media construct socially accepted notions of what women should be like. In other words, these magazines do not mirror women’s concerns, interests or even women themselves, but rather, borrowing Gitlin’s metaphor, they become fun-house mirrors distorting reality." – Talia Ford Oct 22 '13 at 10:51
  • 5
    'Milk and honey' and 'blood and milk' are not used in English for body types. The first phrase is a sign of plenty referring to land or a nation and has no gender overtones. The second just sounds weird in English. – Mitch Oct 22 '13 at 14:43
  • 1
    @mikhailcazi, I would have said rather the opposite: if you describe a woman being curvy, there is a very high probability that you are in fact euphemistically calling her obese. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Oct 22 '13 at 23:40
  • 2
    Why would this be downvoted? It's a perfectly clear question. Weird. – Fattie Aug 16 '15 at 3:07
3

Milk and honey refers more to the Hebrew Bible's description of Israel and it's agricultural fruitfulness. "A land flowing with milk and honey."

The phrase has since been co-opted to mean any sort of paradise which is rife with nourishment.

If you were to really stretch the metaphor, you could use this to describe a curvaceous woman. But, I don't think that many would get your drift straight off the bat.

But, as the other posters have pointed out, there are significantly more idiomatically appropriate choices that English speakers would understand at face value.

I will add a few:

If you want to sound campy: Va-va-va-voom

If you are referring to specifically her ample breasts: Busty, Stacked, Buxom

If you are referring to her buttocks being shapely and large: Booty-licious, Baby Got Back

If you are trying not to get your face slapped: Full-figured, Curvaceous, Well-Proportioned

1

moderate
shapely: /ˈʃeɪpli/

adj (especially of a woman or part of her body) having an attractive or well-proportioned shape: however much she ate it made no difference to her shapely figure

impressive
voluptuous: /vəˈlʌptjʊəs/

(of a woman) curvaceous and sexually attractive.

No comment
36-24-36

1

The very simple answer is "no", you've just confused "milk and honey", which is unrelated to women's figures.

Great question.

If you mean the "Marilyn Monroe" type of figure, as in your photo (i.e.: a nice, lovely figure, NOT the 10-year-old-boy-like "waif" seen in advertising images of women since about 1990, due to the extreme predominance of homosexual men in the fashion advertising field) then shapely or voluptuous work well (today) as, sort of "positive euphemisms" for that figure.

The situation is quite confusing as the photo you show is - today - seen as "a bit fat". (Again, that's because of the dominance of images of weird small-boy-like almost-women in advertising through the 90s.) But in, say, the 1950s or earlier, nobody would even think of that person as fat, and art directors from that era would be confused what we are asking.

  • ‘Blood and milk’ or ‘milk and honey’ both sound like English ‘peaches and cream’ describing complexion, not shape. ‘Blood and milk’ doesn’t work in English. It sounds like a Maasai or Klingon or Viking, perhaps, Janus warrior’s diet; nothing to do with beauty. 50 years ago ‘Curvacious’ or ‘curvy’ might have been entirely literal. Today they clearly do mean ‘overweight’ or even ‘obese’ at least often enough to be dangerous and no, you can’t safely call her ‘chubby’ or ‘cuddly’ or ‘bubbly’ or anything like that; not without souring the whole sundae. – Robbie Goodwin Apr 20 '17 at 11:55
1
  • 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.

Milk

William Shakespeare used the term milk in Macbeth to represent the purity and goodness of a person, as in:

  1. The milk of human kindness

For William Wells Newell, the bosom and skin of a woman was compared to that of milk

  1. Down she comes as white as milk,
    A rose in her bosom, as soft as silk.

Honey

  1. 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.

enter image description here

  • Like thick, I would advise caution if using opulent or smoking (hot) since they have other meanings that will quite likely prevail over the intended one here. Opulent, when used to describe people, tend to describe people who are rich, rather than curvy women; and smoking (hot) just means ‘sexually [and subjectively] attractive’, regardless of body type. So it would be perfectly conceivable, for example, for someone to describe Paris Hilton as opulent and smoking hot, but thick, despite the fact that body-type-wise she’s a stick figure. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Dec 26 '16 at 13:50
  • @JanusBahsJacquet hello, the adjective opulent is inappropriate in this case, I must have been mixing it up with Italian opulenza (n) grandidizionari.it/Dizionario_Italiano/parola/O/… and opolenta (fem. adj) – Mari-Lou A Dec 26 '16 at 13:58
  • If used to refer to the curves of the body, I’d say it can work quite well—just not if referring to the person herself. You could describe someone as having opulent curves and be fine… though I think perhaps I’d be quite likely to interpret that as being more of a Venus of Willendorf than a Venus of Milo. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Dec 26 '16 at 14:00
  • As for smoking [hot], it's usually related to womanly figures, not androgynous body types, but I get your point, it's not a compliment exclusive to Sophia Loren or Monica Bellucci whose figures are hourglass shaped. . – Mari-Lou A Dec 26 '16 at 14:04
  • My main association with “smoking!” (and probably at least some others’ as well) is Jim Carrey in The Mask where he says it quite a lot of Cameron Diaz. Now I would definitely not think of her as androgynous, but there ain’t much flesh on them bones either. ;-) – Janus Bahs Jacquet Dec 26 '16 at 14:07
0

There are a lot of expressions that might be used, but among the more printable ones I would commend the top-most figure as 'CURVACEOUS'.

curvaceous
(especially of a woman or a woman's figure) having an attractively curved shape
‘Tobias's eyes followed the curvaceous waitress with black hair and dark skin before returning to Mia, who was looking at the menu.’
Oxford Living Dictionaries

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.