Telling someone that they are “fat” is rude. There is no way around it because they are usually very aware of their current body situation. However, there are some more polite alternatives you might be able to use (provided you ask them first). This article will share them with you.
How Can I Describe A Fat Person In A Polite Way?
As we’ve stated, it’s rude to describe people as “fat” in any case. However, if you know the person, you might find that they’re more comfortable being described by one of these words:
The preferred versions are “curvy” and “jolly.” We typically use “curvy” to address females who like the word and “jolly” to address males who like it. Again, you have to make sure they appreciate the description before using it in any capacity.
“Curvy” works well when describing a woman who is happy with her shape. Usually, overweight people have more curvaceous aspects of their bodies. They’ll come out wider at the hips or the bosom, and they’ll often like the way their body looks because of this.
Many women appreciate the word “curvy” and will often refer to themselves as “curvy,” too. However, you need to make sure that you are allowed to call a woman “curvy” before doing so. If she is not okay with it, you should avoid doing so.
The same is true for all of the words we will be sharing throughout this article. Rather than repeating it for each case, just remember to avoid these words until you hear the overweight person calling themselves by the word first.
Then, and only then, is it likely they won’t mind it coming from you. Still, you should double-check with them before making any commitments to these words.
Here are some examples:
- She’s really curvy, but she’s also really proud of her look.
- They are a curvy couple, but I think that’s part of their charm.
- I’m curvy, but I’m okay with that. No one can put me down.
“Jolly” doesn’t strictly mean “fat” in any way. It actually means “happy” and “joyful.” However, “jolly” has recently become a more slang-like term we can use to refer to larger men who are typically happy with their appearance and are warm and welcoming to those around them.
While being overweight doesn’t always correlate to being happy, there was enough of a connection in the past to warrant “jolly” as a descriptive term for them.
Many larger men (and women) will happily refer to themselves as “jolly,” and you can often do so yourself in many cases. It’s a much kinder and funnier word than many of the others on this list, which is why it works well.
Here are some examples:
- He’s a very jolly fellow! I wish I had his sense of humor.
- She’s mighty jolly, and I really like that about her.
- They’re both very jolly, and they never let their weight get them down.
“Beefy” works well when you’re describing an overweight man. It works because you can refer to their “beef,” which often implies that they have a lot of power behind their frame. Many men enjoy being referred to in this way because it makes them sound strong.
Here are some examples to help you understand it:
- I’m pretty beefy, and I like how confident that makes me feel.
- He’s beefy, and I think that’s part of the reason why he’s so strong in the gym.
- You’re very beefy, which is why I need your help moving this washing machine!
“Bulky” is almost identical to “beefy.” You should mostly use it when referring to men (unless you’re certain a woman will be happy with it). Again, the “bulk” in the word implies that they are strong and look good, even though they are generally overweight.
Many men appreciate words like “beefy” and “bulky” because they work well to reinforce their manliness. It’s a real confidence booster for most heavier men.
Here are some great examples to help you understand it:
- I would describe myself as bulky because I know I’m not the skinniest runt in the litter.
- You’re pretty bulky for a teenager, but I think that’s why the girls like you.
- He’s very bulky, and I think that’s what makes me so attracted to him.
“Chunky” is a difficult one. It works well when you know someone is comfortable with it, but it can also be incredibly insulting when said to the wrong person. You have got to be absolutely certain before using a word like this.
Check out these examples to see how it works:
- Don’t worry about it! You can call me chunky whenever you want to.
- He’s a chunky guy, but he wears it well.
- She’s quite chunky, and I think that’s why she’s always so happy.
“Heavyset” is another word you should be careful of. It can be useful because it doesn’t outright imply that somebody is “fat.” Some people naturally have larger figures, and that’s what this word can imply, which can be helpful when wanting to sound more polite.
Here are some examples to help you with it:
- He’s a heavyset man, which is why I think he’s perfect for the job.
- Both of them are heavyset, and I don’t understand what your problem with that is.
- I am quite heavyset, and I’ve come to accept that’s just the way I am.
“Big-boned” is a fun way to refer to an overweight person. As long as they are okay with it and use it themselves, “big-boned” is a jokey way to refer to the fact that their bones are what makes them large rather than their poor dietary habits.
The implication with this phrase is that the bones are the problem. Obviously, most larger people understand this is not the case. However, that’s what makes the phrase quite light-hearted since it can be a running joke between overweight people.
Check out these examples for more:
- I’d like to refer to myself as big-boned if that’s okay with you!
- She’s big-boned, and I’m sure she’d be here telling you the same thing.
- Hey, he’s not fat! He’s just big-boned! He swears it!
“Hefty” works well when someone has a bit of girth and size to them. “Heft” is something that refers to a large weight, and we typically use it when someone is comfortable with the word and uses it to describe their own weight gain.
Here are some great examples to help you with it:
- She’s a hefty woman! All the more for me to love, I suppose.
- He’s pretty hefty, and that’s why they’ve hired him for such a physical role.
- I’ve been called hefty before, and ever since, I’ve loved the word!
“Thick” is an easy way to describe fat people. It can work well if someone constantly refers to themselves as “thick.” It’s common for people to adopt this word because it’s less aggressive and derogatory than “fat,” which is why men and women both adopt it.
In slang, “thick” changes spelling slightly. Many people will replace the “K” with a “C” when they want to show that they think they are hot while also overweight. In these cases, you might hear “thicc.”
Here are some good examples:
- I’m pretty thick, and that’s why the men always chase me.
- He’s thick from behind! I love that about him.
- She’s really thicc! I’m so lucky!
“Thickset” is similar to “thick,” but it’s not quite as common. You can still use it when referring to someone who is comfortable with their size. However, there are no slang alternatives to “thickset” (“thiccset” is not correct), which is why it’s less common.
Here are some examples that show you how it works:
- We are both very thickset, which is why we’re so compatible.
- You’re quite thickset, but you shouldn’t worry too much about that!
- I own the fact that I’m thickset! No one can tell me my worth but me!
“Burly” is another good word we can use to describe men who are comfortable with their weight. “Burly” people are often strong and look like they’ll be able to do a lot of physically intensive things. It may also work for women, but you should check with them first.
Here are some great examples to help you:
- He’s burly, and that’s why he’s the top performer in his gym
- He’s a lot more burly than me, which is why he can lift more.
- I’m burly and have been since I was a kid. There’s nothing wrong with that.
“Brawny” is the last word we want to cover. It’s similar to “burly,” where we use it to describe a man who is larger than most. “Brawn” typically implies muscle and strength, and we use it to show that an overweight man has muscle underneath his layers.
Here are some examples to demonstrate its use:
- I’m a brawny guy, and I won’t be told otherwise.
- You’re quite brawny for a young lad, and I’m very impressed with your attitude.
- He’s very brawny. I’m almost jealous of what he can do!
Martin holds a Master’s degree in Finance and International Business. He has six years of experience in professional communication with clients, executives, and colleagues. Furthermore, he has teaching experience from Aarhus University. Martin has been featured as an expert in communication and teaching on Forbes and Shopify. Read more about Martin here.