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My colleague's body is amazing:

  • She's comfortable wearing sleeveless clothing while the rest of us are shivering in jumpers
  • She can travel halfway around the world for two weeks, then come back and work the full workday immediately with no visible sign of jet lag
  • She gets away with eating chocolate for lunch (!)

Her body is so amazing I'm envious.

The problem is, by saying "my colleague's body is amazing" I'm sure many will interpret the statement as saying my colleague is sexy/physically attractive. How can I convey my meaning without that implication?

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    Why is it important that you convey this message? What benefit are you hoping to gain from conveying this message? It seems like a big risk that you might get misinterpreted. – Christoffer Hammarström Apr 8 at 13:46
  • @ChristofferHammarström I find that in general people like praise ... if her constitution being this amazing is because of something she is doing (as opposed to genes) then she will likely want to know. – Allure Apr 8 at 21:54
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    @Allure: Doesn't seem worth the risk to you that she might "want to know" that her constitution is amazing. What great things do you expect she will accomplish with this newfound knowledge, ostensibly hitherto unbeknownst to her? – Christoffer Hammarström Apr 9 at 7:09
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    @ChristofferHammarström she'll feel happy, and I'm happy that she feels happy as opposed to nothing, especially since making her feel happy doesn't cost me anything. – Allure Apr 9 at 7:13
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Don't focus on her body.

Instead, say something like this:

I am envious of my colleague's constitution.
I wish I had my colleague's metabolism.

Both of the following definitions come from Merriam-Webster.

Constitution:

2 a : the physical makeup of the individual especially with respect to the health, strength, and appearance of the body
// a hearty constitution

Metabolism:

b : the sum of the processes by which a particular substance is handled in the living body


Or, if you do focus on her body, don't make it sound as if you're talking about her appearance.

You could instead say something like this:

I wish my body handled adverse conditions as well as my colleague's does.

Or simply:

I wish I had my colleague's health.

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    +1 for constitution – UnhandledExcepSean Apr 8 at 2:42
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    "I wish I had my colleague's health" would be easily misunderstood to mean that the speaker suffers from poor health. – Aleksander Apr 8 at 8:30
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    would "stamina" work? – April --Un-Slander Monica-- Apr 8 at 14:12
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    @April Yes, stamina is another word that would fit. As are resilience and powers of recovery. – Jason Bassford Supports Monica Apr 8 at 14:14
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    I agree with all of this, especially in the context of the request for a phrase, but I think the answer might be improved by mentioning that the best answer in actual life is likely to be to say nothing at all. Sometimes the best phrase for a situation is silence. – TimothyAWiseman Apr 8 at 21:27
18

You are right that the word "body" in the first sentence might send the wrong message.

The simplest way to fix that is just say "My colleague is amazing". The following sentences then describe what is amazing about her.

In the last sentence, we already know why you think her body is amazing, so it will not be misunderstood, but you could change it to "Her metabolism is so amazing I'm envious" if you want to avoid any reference to physical attractiveness.

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    +1 And variations on a theme, e.g. My colleague is superhuman. – crw Apr 8 at 13:19
  • This is just as bad, really. "X is amazing" has the common meaning that you're hot for her. Jason's is the correct answer. – Fattie Apr 9 at 13:23
7

There are some words that actually convey the meaning you intend. Here are some examples applied to this situation:

My colleague is remarkably resilient.

Resilient: Able to withstand or recover quickly from difficult conditions.

My colleague has an imperturbable disposition.

Imperturbable: Incapable of being upset, unflappable

Disposition: Physical inclination or tendency

My colleague is indefatigable.

Indefatigable: Literally, untiring. Figuratively, not affected, put off, or overwhelmed the way others might be.

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    If only we lived in a world where people had vocabulary like this. – Fattie Apr 9 at 13:23
1

I would find the other suggestions awkward to say due to their "sophistication" or formality.

Here are some (mostly) simpler ideas. Many don't fully convey the meaning but of course could be qualified further in the conversation.

I think my pick would be X is bulletproof.

X is bulletproof/impervious/indestructible/invulnerable/invincible.

X is capable of withstanding anything.

Everything seems to bounce off X.

X is tough.

X is seemingly unstoppable.

X is hardy/robust/resilient.

X has a lot of grit.

X is really fit.

X can go for miles/run a marathon [without breaking a sweat].

Physically, X can deal with anything.

More colloquial:

X is a tank.

X is a machine.

X can really take a beating/pummelling.

This is not one I've heard before, but if I heard it I would have a pretty good idea of what it meant:

X has flesh of iron.

Which reminds me of the Iron Man/Iron Woman contest (this would depend on whether it is well-known in your locality).

X is practically an Iron Man/Iron Woman.

Here is a more sophisticated one:

X would put Achilles to shame.

protected by Mari-Lou A Apr 9 at 11:08

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