Adjective > Rotund

Adjective – Rotund

Rotund” comes from a Latin word meaning “round, like a wheel.”

Literally speaking, something rotund is round: it’s circular, or spherical like a ball. In other words, to be rotund is to be circular, spherical, or just chubby or round-ish.

Consider how someone who talks with a very round mouth might be talking in a grand, showy way; and how someone who sings with a very round mouth might be singing in a full, strong way. Figuratively speaking, then, something rotund seems grand and showy, or sounds full and strong. But we don’t often use this figurative meaning.

Part of speech:
adjective: “a rotund hedgehog,” “their speaking style has grown even more rotund.”

Other common forms:
rotundly & rotundity (or, if you prefer, “rotundness”).

how to use it:
Rotund” is a semi-common word. It can be an elegant, slightly less rude way of describing someone’s body, compared to blunt words like “hefty” or “chunky,” or clinical words like “obese” or “overweight.”

So I suppose if you have a good reason, you might describe rotund people, bodies, waistlines, faces, etc. Many writers do.

But you’re on safer (politer) ground if you stick to describing rotund animals and objects. How about penguins, pineapples, and pincushions?

To use the figurative meaning–which, again, is rare–talk about rotund voices, statements, music, singing, speeches, styles of writing, etc.

“Thomas Nast, political cartoonist extraordinaire… [created] the rotund, resplendent figure of Santa Claus.”
— Lorraine Boissoneault, Smithsonian, 19 December 2018

“The joy of this… game comes from admiring these cats. Some are fluffy and rotund, while others are bizarre-looking and scrawny.”
— Shannon Liao, The Verge, 4 March 2018