I have a primary and a secondary question!

The first is whether there is an adjectival form of the word 'beauty', or better still 'grooming'?

The second is what is the proper way to describe an adjective that means 'of or relating to' something? So something of or relating to fashion is 'sartorial', something of or relating to the church is 'ecclesiastical', something of or relating to bears is 'ursine'. I want the 'of or relating to' form of beauty/grooming, but also to know what that is called? I've been trying to Google it, but typing things like 'what is the word for when something is of or related to something else' is - obviously - not getting me very far!!

  • 1
    All adjectives are about 'of or relating to' nouns. An interest in beauty is an aesthetic sensibility. An interest in grooming gives you a tailored look, or precious, if overdone. Commented May 26, 2017 at 16:23
  • If I've understood your second question right, it seems to match up with the Wikipedia article "Collateral adjective" (mentioned in the answer to the following ELU question "What category of adjectives is this? i.e. adjectives entirely unlike their nouns", also in the question "Is there a particular term for adjectives like “bovine”, “ursine”, “simian” etc?").
    – herisson
    Commented May 26, 2017 at 16:23
  • Hmmm. 'Tailored' surely means 'well-groomed', not 'of or relating to grooming. For example you can 'make a sartorial misstep' and be badly dressed, but I'm not sure you can 'make a tailoring misstep'... Actually, now I've written it, yes, I'm sure you can. But it would refer to being badly dressed in a slightly different way. I don't think 'tailored' really refers to 'grooming', and 'precious' certainly covers a much wider area.
    – Ms Droste
    Commented May 26, 2017 at 16:48
  • If yours are simple questions, as I suspect, these are some adjectives: 'beautiful', 'groomed'. "A beautiful man is hard to find." "The groomed dog won the fight." If your question is more difficult, you might try a tool such as the Onelook Thesaurus.
    – JEL
    Commented May 26, 2017 at 18:37
  • We need to see a sentence with a blank where the word will go. Commented May 28, 2017 at 3:29

1 Answer 1


For your first question, I think the word cosmetic would work, at least for beauty. From Merriam-Webster:

  1. : of, relating to, or making for beauty especially of the complexion
  2. : done or made for the sake of appearance

You might also consider using your own word, grooming, attributively. For example, you could talk about grooming implements or grooming principles and I think the term would be understand to have the meaning you describe.

For your meta-question, I'm not sure that such a term exists. If it did, I would think it most likely to come from classical Latinists, but the closest I've found is that some forms of derivative adjectives use endings that specify "of or pertaining to". For example, from An Epitome of Andrews and Stoddard's Latin Grammar (1869):

§128. Derivative adjectives are formed chiefly from nouns, from other adjectives, and from verbs.
I. Those derived from nouns and adjectives are called denominatives. The following are the principal classes: —

  1. . . . (d.) The terminations ēüs or īus (Greek ειος), and also ĭcus, belong to adjectives formed from Greek names of men, and denote 'of' or 'pertaining to.'
  2. (a.) The terminations ālis, āris, ārius, ilis, atĭlis, ĭcius, ĭcus, ius, ĕŭs, and īnus, denote “belonging” “pertaining” or “relating to”; as, capitālis, relating to life; from caput.

As you can see from the first part of this quote, nineteenth century Latinists did not shy away from giving names to various types of grammatical constructs, but adjectives with this kind of meaning didn't get a special name.

Similarly, of the suffix -al as in your example sartorial, the Oxford English Dictionary1 says:

  1. Forming adjectives with the sense ‘of or relating to that which is denoted by the first element’, e.g. abysmal adj., global adj., meditational adj., mucosal adj., optimal adj., palatal adj., rotational adj., societal adj.

So there may be a term out there for this type of adjective, but if so it is quite obscure.

I will also note that the OED contains over 2700 adjectives that include the exact phrase "of or pertaining to" in their definition, so it is a very large category.

1 "-al, suffix1." OED Online. Oxford University Press, March 2017. Unfortunately, this is a subscription service; if you don't have access, check with your local library to see if they have a subscription or print copy.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

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