Powerful Adjectives

While weaker writing and speaking rely heavily on adjectives, do not underestimate the power of a juicy modifier. Don’t forget to pick up some index cards and keep your own collection of mellifluous adjectives.
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Click each card to reveal a definition

  • airy
    affected, proud "airy condescension"
  • acerbic
    sour, harsh or severe in temper or expression
  • affable
    being pleasant, at ease, or gracious in talking to others
  • ambient
    existing or present on all sides
  • aquiline
    resembling an eagle's beak or an eagle
  • arduous
    difficult, strenuous, or marked by great effort
  • avaricious
    greedy
  • awash
    overcome as if by a flood "awash in brandy"
  • bellicose
    inclined to start quarrels
  • bereft
    deprived of the possession or use of something
  • bilious
    displaying a peevish or ill-natured disposition
  • brusk
    short, abrupt, blunt in speech or manner
  • caliginous
    misty, dark
  • callipygian
    having shapely buttocks
  • callow
    lacking adult sophistication
  • chary
    cautious or vigilate about dangers and risks
  • comely
    having a pleasant appearance, not homely or plain
  • commodious
    comfortably and conveniently spacious or roomy
  • condign
    deserved, appropriate
  • convivial
    fond of feasting, drinking, and good company
  • corpulent
    having a large bulky body
  • desultory
    marked by lack of definite plan, regularity, or purpose
  • diffident
    shy or lacking self-confidence in speaking or acting
  • dour
    stern, harsh, obstinate, unyielding, gloomy, sullen
  • dowdy
    shabby or unbecoming in appearance
  • effete
    lacking character, vitality or strength
  • egregious
    conspicuously bad
  • emollient
    soothing to the skin or making less harsh or intense
  • erstwhile
    formerly or in the past
  • etiological
    assigning or seeking to assign a cause
  • evanescent
    tending to vanish like a vapor
  • exigent
    requiring immediate aid or action
  • exiguous
    inadequate or scanty
  • expansive
    in high spirits, generosity, or readiness to talk
  • exuberant
    joyously unrestrained and enthusiastic
  • fecund
    fruitful, prolific, or highly productive
  • fortuitous
    occurring by chance
  • frowsy
    a musty, stale smell or unkempt appearance
  • fugacious
    disappearing early as in leaves of plants
  • fulsome
    excessively complimentary or flattering
  • garish
    excessively bright, tastelessly showy
  • gregarious
    indicating a liking for companionship
  • halcyon
    calm, peaceful, happy, prosperous, or affluent
  • hyperborean
    describing people of the arctic or northern climes
  • implacable
    not easily appeased, changed, or mitigated
  • inadvertent
    unintentional or inattentive
  • incipient
    beginning to come into being or to become apparent
  • incisive
    impressively direct in manner or presentation
  • inexorable
    not to be persuaded or moved, relentless
  • innocuous
    harmless or unlikely to offend
  • irenic
    conducive to peace, moderation, or conciliation
  • insipid
    tasteless, uninteresting, dull, flat, vapid, inane
  • intransigent
    refusing to compromise
  • inviolable
    secure from violation, assualt, or trespass