Powerful Verbs

Strong writing and speaking employ descriptive verbs. Help yourself to this list of verbs that you are likely to hear at some point in classrooms and on radio or television. Don’t forget to rack up some of your own flash cards of verbs that you find particularly interesting!
Click here to go to ADJECTIVES page.
Click each card to reveal a definition.

  • abrogate; to abolish by authoritative action; nullify
  • abscond; to depart secretly and hide oneself
  • amalgamate; to mix or consolidate into a single body
  • appease; to bring to a state of calm or peace or to pacify
  • asperse; to attack a reputation, often with false charges
  • assay; to analyze for one or more specific components
  • assuage; to lessen the intensity of or to end by satisfying
  • belaud; to praise, usually to excess
  • brook; to tolerate
  • bastardize; to reduce from a higher to a lower state, debase
  • beleaguer; to besiege, trouble or harass
  • calumniate; to utter maliciously false statements about
  • capitulate; to surrender under terms or to acquiesce
  • castigate; to subject to severe punishment, reproof, or criticism
  • comprise; to include within a particular scope [not "compose"]
  • couch; to phrase or express in a specified manner
  • cozen; to coax by artful deception or to cheat
  • cudgel; to beat with, or as if with, a heavy club
  • embroil; to involve in conflict or difficulties or to confuse
  • equivocate; to deceive by using language with double meaning
  • eruct; to belch (noun. "eructation")
  • exacerbate; to make more violent, bitter, or severe
  • expiate; to make amends or to extinguish guilt by ending
  • expostulate; to reason earnestly and dissuade or remonstrate
  • expunge; to strike out, obliterate, or mark for deletion
  • extirpate; to destroy completely or to pull out by the root
  • fleece; to charge excessively for goods or services
  • fulminate; to denounce or to give censure or invective
  • fustigate; to criticize severely
  • harangue; a ranting speech or writing
  • impute; to blame, often falsely
  • inure; to accustom to accept something undesirable
  • immolate; to kill or destroy by fire, as in sacrifice
  • inveigh; to protest or complain bitterly or vehemently
  • inculcate; to teach and impress by frequent repetition or admonition
  • impone; to wager or to bet
  • impinge; to have an effect or make an impression
  • imbue; to permeate or influence as if by dyeing
  • imbrue; to stain by soaking or drenching
  • imprecate; to invoke evil on or to curse
  • imbrute; to sink or degrade to the level of a brute
  • immure; to enclose as if within walls or to imprison
  • infuse; to permeate with a quality or principle usually to improve
  • impart; to give or convey with authority or as if with authority
  • impugn; to assail or attack as false or lacking integrity
  • moil; to be in continuous agitation or confusion
  • malign; to utter injuriously misleading or false reports about
  • mollify; calm, soothe, or soften in feeling or to make less severe
  • niggle; to find fault constantly in a petty way
  • obnubilate; to becloud or obscure
  • purloin; to appropriate wrongfully, often by a breach of trust
  • peregrinate; to travel or walk about
  • purport; to have the appearance of intending or claiming
  • prevaricate; to deviate from the truth or to equivocate
  • osculate; to kiss
  • promulgate; to make public by declaration
  • quell; to overwhelm and reduce to submission or to quiet
  • raze; to shave off, cut down, or demolish
  • repudiate; to divorce or reject as unlawful or unjust
  • subsume; to include or encompass within something larger
  • stultify; to inhibit by alleging stupidity or absurdity
  • scud; to move swiftly as if driven, perhaps by wind
  • suffuse; to spread through as if in the manner of fluid or light
  • traduce; to expose to shame or blame by means of falsehood
  • transpire; to give off vapor or to become known or apparent
  • vilipend; to disparage or to treat as of little worth
  • vilify; to lower in estimation or importance
  • vitiate; to make faulty or defective or to impair