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