Words You Must Know

  1. acerbic
    acidic; bitter; sharp
  2. admonitory
    serving to admonish; warning
  3. affable
  4. biased
    prejudiced towards one side
  5. bombastic
    language with a theatricality of style far too powerful for the meaning expressed
  6. brusque
    rudely abrupt
  7. caustic
    bitingly sarcastic or witty
  8. clinical
    highly objective; scientific
  9. condescending
    treating people as weak or inferior
  10. confused
    perplexed or bewildered
  11. contemptuous
    expressing contempt; a lack of respect
  12. contentious
    quarrelsome, tending to argument or strife
  13. cynical
    bitterly or sneeringly distrustful, contemptuous, or pessimistic
  14. despotic
    exercising absolute power; tyrannical
  15. dictatorial
    domineering; oppressively overbearing
  16. didactic
    intended for instruction; can be a bit preachy
  17. disdainful
    to regard or treat with contempt; to look down on
  18. disingenuous
    not straightforward; insincere
  19. disparaging
    to speak of in a negative way; belittling
  20. dogmatic
    stubbornly adhering to unproved beliefs
  21. ebullient
    intense enthusiasm
  22. effusive
    emotionally unrestrained; gushy
  23. enigmatic
    puzzling; baffling; cryptic
  24. erudite
    characterized by great knowledge; scholarly
  25. facetious
    playfully humorous
  26. flippant
    lacking proper respect
  27. frank
    open and sincere in expression; straightforward
  28. grandiose
    characterized by pretended greatness; pompous
  29. haughty
    arrogant; vainly proud
  30. iconoclastic
    attacking traditional or popular ideas
  31. impartial
    not in favor of one side or the other; unbiased
  32. imperious
    arrogantly domineering or overbearing
  33. indignant
    attitude of being angry because of an injustice or unworthiness
  34. indifferent
    not caring one way or the other
  35. insipid
    without distinctive, interesting, or stimulating qualities; dull
  36. insolent
    boldly rude or disrespectful
  37. irreverent
    lacking seriousness
  38. laconic
    expressing much in few words; concise; succinct
  39. languid
    lacking in vigor or vitality
  40. laudatory
    pertaining to or expressing praise
  41. lucid
    easily understood; clear
  42. melancholy
    causing sadness or gloom
  43. moralistic
    characterized by a narrow and conventional moral attitude
  44. nostalgic
    a wistful desire to return to a former time or place
  45. obdurate
    stubborn; inflexible
  46. obsequious
    fawning; overly obedient; dutiful (what a servant would do, sucking up?)
  47. patronizing
    to behave in an offensively condescending manner
  48. pedantic
    characterized by a narrow, often ostentatious concern for book learning and formal rules
  49. pedestrian
    lacking in vitality, imagination, distinction; prosaic or dull
  50. pithy
    brief, forceful, and meaningful in expression
  51. plaintive
    expressing sorrow or melancholy (a plaintive melody)
  52. poignant
    profoundly moving; touching (a poignant memory)
  53. pragmatic
  54. precocious
    unusually advanced in mental development (a precocious child)
  55. pretentious
    language purposely inflated to impress
  56. prosaic
    matter of fact; dull; ordinary
  57. ribald
    vulgar or indecent in speech; coarsely mocking; irreverent
  58. saccharine
    overly sweet
  59. sanctimonious
    hypocritical show of religious devotion
  60. sardonic
    disdainfully or ironically humorous; harsh, bitter, or caustic
  61. sentimental
    appealing to tender emotions and feelings
  62. somber
    gloomily dark
  63. sophomoric
    immature and over confident
  64. supercilious
    disdainful; haughtily contemptuous
  65. turgid
    excessively ornate or complex in style or language; bombastic
  66. vociferous
    characterized by loudness and vehemence
  67. wistful
    full of wishful yearning
  68. whimsical
    subject to erratic behavior; unpredictable
Card Set
Words You Must Know
Essential terms to know when discussing tone and language