Collocations To Describe Physical Appearance

Learn important collocations to describe physical appearance in a more detailed way. This vocabulary is useful for real-life situations and can also help you if you’re getting ready for exams like IELTS, TOEFL, or CAE. 

We’ll go beyond basic descriptions and focus on phrases that will make your English sound more natural and fluent, just like native speakers. You’ll learn how to describe facial features, hair, and body structure in a way that captures the details.

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List of vocabulary

Collocations To Describe Physical Appearance

These English collocations are really important for English proficiency exams where you want to describe a picture.

Indeed, if you’re walking down the street and witness an attempted robbery, when the police arrive and there’s no criminal around, they might want to ask you for a description. So, these are really important collocations that you can use to describe what the robber looked like.

Alternatively, you could simply sit on the train and see somebody you fancy. You might want to describe them to your friend later so you can ask for their opinion.

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cropped hair

Meaning: a hairstyle that is cut relatively short, typically with the hair closely trimmed to the scalp


Emma Watson often rocks a chic cropped hair look, showcasing her bold and modern style.

I decided to get cropped hair for the summer, making it easy to manage in the hot weather.

Susan surprised everyone with a stylish cropped hair look during the family picnic.

dishevelled hair

Meaning: untidy, messy, or in a state of disorder


After playing outside, Timmy’s hair became dishevelled, full of knots and tangles.

At the party, Matthew McConaughey had dishevelled hair, looking relaxed and cool on the red carpet.

coarse hair

Meaning: is thick and rough in texture, often feeling resistant to styling


Bob Marley, the famous reggae musician, had coarse and thick hair, which became a symbol of his cultural identity.

Managing coarse hair can be challenging as it tends to be resistant to styling, requiring extra effort for a polished look.

People with coarse hair often seek moisturising products to tame the rough texture and achieve a smoother, more manageable appearance.

receding hairline

Meaning: a person’s hairline is moving backwards, away from the forehead, often resulting in less hair at the front of the head


As he got older, John’s hairline started to recede, revealing more of his forehead.

The middle-aged man noticed his receding hair when he looked in the mirror, realising that his hairline had moved back over the years.

Collocations To Describe Physical Appearance

Collocations to describe physical appearance. English speaking skills. Improve English speaking skills. Upgrade your vocabulary. English grammar rules. Improve English speaking. Advanced English lessons on Zoom and Skype. Improve English speaking and writing skills. #learnenglish


Meaning: a person with red hair, often characterised by a reddish-brown or orange hue


Lots of people in Ireland have red or ginger hair.

Many people with ginger hair have Celtic ancestry.

Jessica stood out in the crowd with her striking, ginger-haired beauty that caught everyone’s attention.

sallow complexion

Meaning: a skin tone that appears yellowish or sickly. It can be a sign of illness, fatigue, or lack of vitality


Sarah didn’t feel well, and her face had a sallow complexion, looking a bit yellowish.

Due to the recent sleepless nights, Emily woke up with sallow skin, her face appearing pale and tired.

fair complexion

Meaning: a light and pale skin tone


With her fair complexion, Lily looked radiant in the soft morning sunlight.

Nicole Kidman is known for her fair complexion, which complements her elegant and timeless beauty.

It’s essential to use sunscreen regularly to protect a fair complexion from the harmful effects of UV rays and maintain healthy skin.

haggard face

Meaning: worn out, tired, and often shows the effects of fatigue, stress, or illness


After ten years of stress, Sarah’s face looked tired and old, showing signs of a haggard appearance.

Emily’s haggard face revealed the strain of her demanding schedule and constant stress.

pointed face

Meaning: a face with noticeable angular features or a distinct, narrow structure


Reese Witherspoon is known for her graceful and distinctive features, including a pointed face that adds to her unique beauty.

The person with the pointed face had defined features that made them stand out in a crowd.

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pudgy/chubby face

Meaning: a face that appears round, full, and slightly plump, often due to excess facial fat


Oh, he has chubby cheeks. He certainly likes eating his food.

Santa’s pudgy face beamed with warmth and happiness as he delivered presents to the excited children on Christmas Eve.

bushy eyebrows

Meaning: eyebrows that are thick, full, and often have a dense and prominent appearance


The old man had bushy eyebrows that added character to his face, framing his eyes with a wild and expressive charm.

hollow eyes

Meaning: the area around the eyes appears deeply indented, creating a shadowed and tired look


The skinny woman’s hollow eyes showed that she wasn’t eating enough and it was affecting her health.

sunken eyes

Meaning: eyes that seem deeply set into the eye sockets, often creating shadows


Sarah’s tired and sunken eyes reflected the impact of stress and insufficient sleep.

pointed nose

Meaning: a nose with a distinct and narrow tip, often creating a prominent and refined appearance


Her pointed nose made her face look more elegant and classy.

Collocations To Describe Physical Appearance

Collocations to describe physical appearance. English speaking skills. Improve English speaking skills. Upgrade your vocabulary. English grammar rules. Improve English speaking. Advanced English lessons on Zoom and Skype. Improve English speaking and writing skills. #learnenglish

rosebud mouth/lips

Meaning: lips that are small, delicate, and often have a slightly pouting or rounded shape


She skillfully used lipstick to enhance her natural beauty, creating the illusion of rosebud lips.

broad shoulders

Meaning: noticeably wide shoulders, creating a strong and robust upper body appearance


John’s weightlifting gave him broad shoulders, highlighting his strength and commitment to fitness.

Rugby players are often recognised for their broad shoulders.

spindly legs

Meaning: long, thin, and often lacking in muscular definition


The Daddy long legs spider is easily recognisable by its small body and incredibly spindly legs.

big brawny arms

Meaning: muscular, strong, and well-developed arms, reflecting physical strength and power


Construction workers often have big, brawny arms, as a result of their physically demanding job.

flabby arms

Meaning: with excess fat or loose skin, appearing soft and less toned


Skipping regular exercise can lead to the development of flabby arms.

You can get rid of flabby arms by regularly exercising at the gym.

Okay, so there are 20 particular collocations to describe somebody’s physical appearance. And I said you could use these to create a picture for somebody, particularly if the policeman was asking you for a description of the person.

Don’t forget to practice. If you need more help, please contact me at I’m always happy to help you.

This is Harry saying goodbye. Thanks for watching and listening. Join me again soon.


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more information

For more information on English grammar rules, English collocations and English idioms, check out the links below:

Common expressions with MAKE

C1 English Collocations for Importance

You can always study English advanced level at Learning English with the BBC and British Council Learn English.

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