The adj. formosus can be decomposed as follows:

forma + -os-us

where forma means ‘shape, form’ and -os- ‘with abundance’. However, when the two notions come together, the whole, which literally reads ‘with abundance of form’ does not make sense to me. Could anyone help explain how these two morphemes work together so as to bring forth the meaning ‘beautiful’?

1 Answer 1


Forma means not only "shape, form", but also "good/pleasing shape, form", i.e. "beauty". (This is a type of semantic shift called amelioration.) "Having / being abundant in beauty" = "beautiful".

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