cosmetic Meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary Cambridge dictionaries logo
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Meaning of “cosmetic” in the English Dictionary

"cosmetic" in British English

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cosmeticnoun

uk   /kɒzˈmet.ɪk/ us   /kɑːzˈmet̬.ɪk/
cosmetics [plural]
substances that you put on your face or body that are intended to improve your appearance: We sell a wide range of cosmetics and toiletries at a very reasonable price.

cosmeticadjective

uk   /kɒzˈmet.ɪk/ us   /kɑːzˈmet̬.ɪk/
  • cosmetic adjective (NOT REAL)

disapproving Corrective changes, etc. are intended to make you believe that something is better when, really, the problem has not been solved: They were offered a few cosmetic improvements to their working conditions, but nothing of significance.
Synonym
  • cosmetic adjective (IMPROVING)

[before noun] used to refer to substances or treatments that are intended to improve your appearance: a cosmetic cream
cosmetically
adverb uk   /kɒzˈmet.ɪ.kəl.i/ us   /kɑːzˈmet̬.ɪ.kəl.i/
(Definition of cosmetic from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"cosmetic" in American English

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cosmeticadjective

us   /kɑzˈmet̬·ɪk/
(esp. of changes and improvements) intended to improve the appearance of something without changing its basic structure; superficial: Whether the change is more cosmetic than concrete is a matter of opinion.
(Definition of cosmetic from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

"cosmetic" in Business English

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cosmeticnoun [C, usually plural]

uk   /kɒzˈmetɪk/ us  
a cream or other substance that you put on your skin, hair, etc. in order to improve its appearance: Europe is the world's largest market for cosmetics. cosmetics industry/retailer, etc. The cosmetics industry has remained strong during the recession.

cosmeticadjective

uk   /kɒzˈmetɪk/ us  
used to describe a small change, etc. that is made in order to make something seem better than it was before, and that does not really affect its basic character: We are committed to addressing the root causes of our problems rather than making only short-term cosmetic changes.
relating to a substance or treatment that is used to improve someone's appearance: The popularity of cosmetic surgery continues to soar.
(Definition of cosmetic from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
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“cosmetic” in Business English

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