What is the Difference between "bonita," "linda," and "hermosa"?

Quick Answer

bonita  = beautiful, pretty, lovely

linda  = cute, pretty, lovely

hermosa  = gorgeous, beautiful, lovely

While all three of these word are very nice things to say to someone, they're not exactly the same. Bonita is closer to beautiful, lindo to cute or nice, and hermosa to gorgeous. All three can be said about people, pets, or things, but hermosa in particular can carry a note of seduction or sexuality, depending on the situation.

¿Quién es esa niña tan bonita?
Who's that pretty girl?
¡Qué gatita más linda!
What a cute kitten!
Me encantas, hermosa.
You really turn me on, gorgeous.

Bonita, linda and hermosa can only be used to talk about female people or things. To talk about male people or things, you should use bonito, lindo or hermoso. When used to describe males, the translations may change a bit.

¿Quién es ese niño tan bonito?
Who's that handsome boy?
¡Qué gatito más lindo!
What a cute kitten!
Me encantas, hermoso.
You really turn me on, gorgeous.

Guapa  and guapo  are also great words to use to flatter someone. Normally used only to talk about people, these words mean good-looking.

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