AskDefine | Define cosmetic

Dictionary Definition

cosmetic adj
1 serving an esthetic rather than a useful purpose; "cosmetic fenders on cars"; "the buildings were utilitarian rather than decorative" [syn: decorative, ornamental]
2 serving an aesthetic purpose in beautifying the body; "cosmetic surgery"; "enhansive makeup" [syn: enhancive] n : a toiletry designed to beautify the body [syn: cosmetics]

User Contributed Dictionary




From Ancient Greek κοσμητική (kosmetike) "the art of dress and ornament", from κοσμητής (kosmetes) "orderer, director, decorator", from κοσμέω (kosmeo) "to order, to arrange, to rule, to adorn, to equip, to dress, to embellish".


  1. External or superficial; pertaining only to the surface or appearance of something.
    Fortunately, the damage to the house was mostly cosmetic and a bit of paint covered it nicely.


  1. An substance applied to enhance the external color or texture of the skin, e.g. lipstick, eyeshadow, eyeliner; makeup.
  2. A feature existing only on the surface.

Derived terms

See also

Extensive Definition

Cosmetic may refer to:
  • Cosmetics, or make-up, substances to enhance the beauty of the human body, apart from simple cleaning
  • Cosmetic, an adjective describing beauty, aesthetics, or appearance, especially concerning the human body
  • Cosmetic, a topical product that is not a drug
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