Easily Confused Words: Multitudinous vs. Pulchritudinous

Multitudinous and Pulchritudinous are easily confused words.

The spell-check application of most word processing software programs would not catch a slip-up of these two words. Spell-check is looking for words that aren’t in its dictionary, and words that resemble words in its dictionary but are possibly spelled wrong. Spell-check isn’t perfect. It doesn’t know and can’t guess what word you wanted or what word you meant, it can only judge the words on the page. If you used words that are all spelled correctly, it gives you a pass anyway.

Autocorrect suggests words that start with the same letters. It’s suggesting what word you may want to save time, but quite often, its suggestions are pretty off base. They don’t help you out, but they do make you laugh.

Multitudinous (pronounced “mull-tit-tood-in-us”) is an adjective. It means in great quantity or number. It can also describe something with a lot of parts. In the distant past, it described crowded conditions.

Pulchritudinous (pronounced “pull-krit-tood-in-us”) is an adjective. It might be hard to believe, but it’s way of saying physically attractive, handsome, or beautiful.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Young Myrielle was so smitten with the pulchritudinous Petrarch that she wrote affectionate letters to him daily. It being her first love, her verses where multitudinous, flowing like a fountain without end. She filled diaries with dreams about their future together.

So when her cousin Phrowenia received Petrarch’s proposal, Myrielle was devastated.


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