The sententence is from an article about "Looking Good".

People with all kinds of beauty handicaps have easy, loving relationships.

I am so confused with the meaning of "beauty handicaps". Does it mean being ugly or being disabled?

Thanks in advance.

  • The statement might also refer to unwelcome facial features that are difficult to disguise with make-up - features such as scars and pimples. Nov 10, 2016 at 22:23

1 Answer 1


The term for these kind of phrases is euphemism. This is where you substitute a nice-sounding phrase for one that is impolite or possibly offensive.

In this case, "beauty handicap" is a euphemism for "unattractive". Other examples of euphemisms:

Her father passed last night (he died)

The ramp is there to provide access for the physically challenged (people in wheelchairs or with other handicaps)

We've had to put mother in a home (old-age facility)

and many others.

Edit: In my opinion this is one of the most inept attempts at euphemism I've seen -- but a terrible euphemism is still a euphemism. What matters is that the writers of this article are trying to say something nice, even if they're not really very good at it.

  • 1
    I don't think you can say that "beauty handicap" is a euphemism for "unattractive" exactly. Firstly, they're different parts of speech, but more importantly, I wouldn't say that someone with a "beauty handicap" is unattractive, simply that they have some kind of handicap or challenge regarding their beauty, but nothing in this sentence implies that it can't be overcome - in fact, just the opposite, since they have "easy, loving" relationships.
    – stangdon
    Nov 10, 2016 at 18:18
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    @stangdon the article seems to be saying that even unattractive people can have loving relationships. I've no opinion whether this is true or not, only what it means.
    – Andrew
    Nov 10, 2016 at 18:51
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    I kind of agree with @stangdon here, but for a different reason. I'm not sure that "beauty handicap" sounds all that polite, mild, or pleasant, so I don't think I'd classify it as a true euphemism. It's interesting that this version of the text puts the expression in scare quotes.
    – J.R.
    Nov 10, 2016 at 19:27
  • @J.R. Is a failed euphemism still a euphemism?
    – Andrew
    Nov 10, 2016 at 19:31
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    Maybe, but for it to qualify in this case, I think you'd have to expand the definition you provide. I don't think this is "a substitution of a nice-sounding phrase for one that is impolite." Wikipedia has a broader article about euphemisms; you might be able to convince me this is a euphemism if you borrowed from that material. As sifted through it, I noticed that some "failed euphemisms" might be classified successful dysphemisms. Interesting question, in any case.
    – J.R.
    Nov 10, 2016 at 19:41

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