No matter where you travel, you’re bound to find beauty. Perhaps the landscapes are beautiful, or maybe the people. You might even travel somewhere that has the most beautiful food you’ve ever seen. In any case, being able to say “beautiful” will help you express your awe to locals, which is a wonderful way to connect and show your gratitude.

A language barrier doesn’t have to stop you from communicating with locals. Learning just a few phrases, like how to say “thank you” or “hello” or even “I love you,” makes a huge difference. Even if you say it poorly or with a thick accent, a genuine attempt to speak the local language is a sign of respect anywhere you go.

For the times that you just need to say how lovely and incredible something is, here is how to say “beautiful” in 100 of the world’s most spoken languages (note pairs of words are in the order of masculine/feminine):

1. Mandarin: měilì de

Where it’s spoken: China, Taiwan, Singapore

2. Spanish: bonito/bonita, hermoso/hermosa, bello/bella (all mean “beautiful”)

Where it’s spoken: Hispanic America, Spain, United States, Equatorial Guinea, Western Sahara, Pacific Islands

3. English: beautiful

Where it’s spoken: Australia, Canada, India, IrelandNew Zealand, Philippines, South Africa, Singapore, United Kingdom, United States

4. Hindi: sundar

Where it’s spoken: India, Nepal, Fiji

5. Arabic: jamíl/jamíla (gamíl/gamíla in Egypt)

Where it’s spoken: North Africa, Western Asia (Middle East), East Africa

6. Portuguese: bonito/bonita, lindo/linda, belo/bela

Where it’s spoken: Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, Mozambique, Portugal, São Tomé and Príncipe, Timor-Leste

7. Bengali: sundara

Where it’s spoken: Bangladesh, West Bengal (India), Tripura (India), Assam (India)

8. Russian: krasivyy (m), krasivaya (f), krasivoye (n)

Where it’s spoken: Russia, former republics of the Soviet Union, Mongolia

niijima japan outdoor onsen
Imagine seeing this scene in Japan and being able to express, “beautiful”

9. Japanese: kireina

Where it’s spoken: Japan

10. Punjabi: sudara

Where it’s spoken: Punjab region (India, Pakistan)

11. German: schön

Where it’s spoken: Germany, Austria, Belgium (Eupen-Malmedy), Luxembourg, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, South Tirol (in Italy)

12. Javanese: ayu

Where it’s spoken: Java (Indonesia)

13. Wu (Shanghainese): měilì de

Where it’s spoken: Zhejiang, Shanghai, southern Jiangsu (eastern China)

14. Malay/Indonesian: cantik (“chantik”)

Where it’s spoken: Brunei, IndonesiaMalaysia, Singapore

Cherry blossoms in Gunsan, South Korea
South Korea‘s beauty

15. Korean: aleumdaun

Where it’s spoken: North Korea, South Korea

16. Telugu: andamaina

Where it’s spoken: Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Puducherry (India)

17. Vietnamese: xinh đẹp (“sing dep”)

Where it’s spoken: Vietnam

18. French: beau/belle

Where it’s spoken: Belgium (Wallonia, Brussels), Canada (particularly Quebec, New Brunswick and eastern parts of Ontario), France, Switzerland, Francophone Africa, French Caribbean, French Polynesia, various islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans.

19. Marathi: sundara

Where it’s spoken: Maharashtra, Goa, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat (India)

20. Tamil: aḻaku

Where it’s spoken: Tamil Nadu, Karnataka (India), Puducherry (India), Sri Lanka, Singapore, Malaysia, Mauritius

21. Urdu: khoobsurat

Where it’s spoken: India, Pakistan

22. Persian/Farsi: qasheng, khoshgel (for people)

Where it’s spoken: Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan

23. Turkish: güzel

Where it’s spoken: Turkey, Cyprus, Bulgaria

24. Cantonese: laang

Where it’s spoken: Guangdong (Canton), southern Guangxi (southern China), Hong Kong, Macau

25. Italian: bello/bella, bellissimo/bellissima (“very beautiful”)

Where it’s spoken: ItalySwitzerland, San Marino

thailand budget
Beautiful Thailand

26. Thai: s̄wy (“shuway”)

Where it’s spoken: Thailand

27. Gujarati: sundara

Where it’s spoken: Gujarat (India)

28. Basque: eder

Where it’s spoken: Northern Spain, southwestern France

29. Minnan hua: hǎo kàn

Where it’s spoken: Fujian, eastern part of Guandong (southeastern China), Hainan (southern China), Taiwan, Malaysia

30. Polish: piękny

Where it’s spoken: Poland, Germany, Belarus, western Ukraine, Lithuania

31. Pashto: aaghli

Where it’s spoken: Afghanistan, Pakistan

32. Kannada: sundara

Where it’s spoken: Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra (India)

33. Malayalam: manēāharaṁ (“manóharam”)

Where it’s spoken: Kerala, Lakshadweep, Mahé (India)

Carefree days in Indonesia

34. Sundanese: geulis (“ghelís”)

Where it’s spoken: Java (Indonesia)

35. Chamorro: bunitu/bunita

Where it’s spoken: mainly on Guam and in the Mariana Islands

36. Hausa: kyau

Where it’s spoken: Nigeria

37. Burmese: lhasaw a sainn

Where it’s spoken: Myanmar

38. Oriya: sundar

Where it’s spoken: Odisha (India)

39. Armenian: geghets’ik (“gheretsík”)

Where it’s spoken: Armenia, Georgia, Russia

40. Ukrainian: harnyy

Where it’s spoken: Ukraine

41. Bhojpuri: nik

Where it’s spoken: Bihar (India)

42. Tagalog: maganda

Where it’s spoken: Manila and northern Philippines

43. Yoruba: lẹwa

Where it’s spoken: Nigeria, Benin, Togo

44. Maithili: lōga

Where it’s spoken: Bihar (India)

45. Sindhi: surkẖu

Where it’s spoken: Sindh (Pakistan and neighboring areas in India)

Lushoto, Tanzania guide

46. Swahili: mrembo

Where it’s spoken: Kenya, TanzaniaUganda

Swahili is the most widely spoken language in Africa with about 100 million speakers, and is the national language of Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda.

Swahili is said to have originated from Arabic, among other languages. It’s possible the language came from interactions between Arabs and East Africans back in the day.

47. Uzbek: go’zal

Where it’s spoken: Uzbekistan

48. Amharic: k’onijo

Where it’s spoken: Ethiopia

49. Fula: wooɗude

Where it’s spoken: West and Central Africa, from Senegal to Sudan

50. Igbo: mara mma

Where it’s spoken: Nigeria

51. Oromo: bareedduu

Where it’s spoken: Ethiopia, Kenya

52. Romanian: frumos

Where it’s spoken: Romania, Moldova

53. Azerbaijani: gözəl

Where it’s spoken: Azerbaijan, northern Iran

54. Manipuri/Meitei: maithili

Where it’s spoken: Northeast India, Bangladesh, Burma

Vilanculos mozambique
A fisherman in Vilanculos, Mozambique

55. Chichewa: wokongola

Where it’s spoken: Malawi, Zambia, Mozambique

56. Cebuano: gwapa

Where it’s spoken: Central and southern Philippines

57. Dutch: mooi

Where it’s spoken: Netherlands, Belgium (Flanders, Brussels), Suriname

58. Kurdish: bedew

Where it’s spoken: Kurdistan (northern Iraq, parts of Iran, Turkey, and Syria)

59. Serbo-Croatian: lijep

Where it’s spoken: Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia, Montenegro

60. Malagasy: tsara tarehy

Where it’s spoken: Madagascar

61. Nepali: sundara

Where it’s spoken: Nepal and neighboring areas, Sikkim (India)

62. Saraiki: swہݨa, sjawl

Where it’s spoken: Sindh (Pakistan)

63. Santali: ɑɖi nɑpɑi

Where it’s spoken: India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan

10 Spiritual Places Around the World

64. Khmer: srasa saat (“srasaat”)

Where it’s spoken: Cambodia

65. Sinhalese: lassanayi

Where it’s spoken: Sri Lanka

66. Bambara: cɛɲi

Where it’s spoken: Mali, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Senegal, Gambia, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Ghana

67. Assamese: dhunia

Assam (India)

68. Madurese: bagus

Where it’s spoken: Madura, Java (Indonesia)

69. Somali: qurux badan

Where it’s spoken: Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Djibouti, Yemen

70. Magahi: This one was impossible to find on the web. Do you speak Magahi and want to let us know how to say “beautiful” in your language?

Where it’s spoken: Bihar (India)

71. Dogri: This is another one that was difficult to find online. Any BMTM readers that speak Dogri?

Where it’s spoken: Kashmir Jamu (india)

72. Marwari: Similarly, an English to Marwari dictionary is tough to find online.

Where it’s spoken: Rajasthan (India and Pakistan)

73. Hungarian: szép (“sayp”)

Where it’s spoken: Hungary and neighboring areas

74. Chewa: wokongola

Where it’s spoken: Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe

75. Kinyarwanda: umunyaburanga

Where it’s spoken: Rwanda

76. Greek: panemorfi

Where it’s spoken: Greece, Cyprus

77. Akan/Twi: feh feh

Where it’s spoken: Ghana, Ivory Coast

78. Khasi: babha briew

Where it’s spoken: Meghalaya (India)

79. Kazakh: ädemi

Where it’s spoken: Kazakhstan

80. Tswana: to say that something or someone is beautiful in Tswana, the -ntle suffix is added to the word

Where it’s spoken: Botswana

81. Hebrew: yafé/yafá

Where it’s spoken: Israel

golden gate highlands national park

82. Zulu: babazekayo

Where it’s spoken: South Africa

83. Czech: krásná

Where it’s spoken: Czech Republic

84. Kinyarwanda: umunyaburanga

Where it’s spoken: Rwanda

85. Konkani: sōbīta

Where it’s spoken: Goa (india)

86. Haitian Creole: bèl

Where it’s spoken: Haiti

87. Afrikaans: pragtige (“prakhtikhe”)

Where it’s spoken: South Africa

88. Ilokano: napintas

Where it’s spoken: Northern Luzon (Philippines)

89. Quechua: sumaq

Where it’s spoken: Peru, Bolivia

90. Kirundi: uri mwiza

Where it’s spoken: Burundi, Uganda

91. Swedish: skön (“hwern” or “shern”)

Where it’s spoken: Sweden, Finland

92. Hmong: zoo nkauj

Where it’s spoken: Laos and neighboring areas

93. Shona: runako

Where it’s spoken: Zimbabwe, northwestern Mozambique

94. Hiligaynon: tahúm

Where it’s spoken: Western Visayas (Philippines)

Cormorant birds and fishermen in rural China, 2014

95. Uyghur: chirailuq

Where it’s spoken: Xinjiang (western China)

96. Balochi: a-mul-l

Where it’s spoken: Balochistan (Pakistan and Iran)

97. Belarusian: pryhožy

Where it’s spoken: Belarus

98. Maori: ataahua

Where it’s spoken: New Zealand

99. Xhosa: entle

Where it’s spoken: South Africa, southern Mozambique

100. Konkani: sōbīta

Where it’s spoken: Goa, Karnataka, Maharashtra (India)

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Letting locals know that you think their country is beautiful is not only a great way to break the ice but a generous act of respect and kindness.

Do you speak one of the world’s 100 most spoken languages and have feedback or corrections on the list above? Or a key phrase you think we should know? Let us know!

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