Glossary of Adjectives for Describing People

by , under topic-related glossaries, Vocabulary

Hey, storytellers! When you want to tell a story about a family member or write fiction, the reader may need help imagining the characters in your story. The solution is to use descriptive vocabulary. Adjectives that describe people can help your reader quickly get a sense of your impressions of the people in your story. Here are 300 adjectives to help you write your masterpiece.

By Marguerite GĂ©rard – http://www.arthermitage.org/Marguerite-Gerard/Artist-Painting-a-Portrait-of-a-Musician.html, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3754841

This glossary is best suited for narrative writing, but there are also field-related glossaries on the Virtual Writing Tutor blog.

Glossary

abandoned
Having been deserted or left.
accepted
Generally believed or recognized to be valid or correct.
affected
Influenced or touched by an external factor.
affectional
Characterized by emotion. Affective, emotive. Emotional – of more than usual emotion.
affective
Relating to moods, feelings, and attitudes.
afraid
Feeling fear or anxiety; frightened.
aggressive
Ready or likely to attack or confront; characterized by or resulting from aggression.
agitated
Feeling or appearing troubled or nervous.
alienated
Experiencing or inducing feelings of isolation or estrangement.
amazed
Greatly surprised; astonished.
amused
Finding something funny or entertaining.
angry
Feeling or showing strong annoyance, displeasure, or hostility; full of anger.
anxious
Feeling or showing worry, nervousness, or unease about something with an uncertain outcome.
apathetic
Showing or feeling no interest, enthusiasm, or concern.
ardent
Very enthusiastic or passionate.
aroused
Excited by sexual thoughts.
ashamed
Embarrassed or guilty because of one’s actions, characteristics, or associations.
ashen
Of a person’s face, very pale with shock, fear, or illness.
astonished
Greatly surprised or impressed; amazed.
aversion
A strong dislike or disinclination.
avoidance
The action of keeping away from or not doing something.
awed
Filled with awe or wonder.
awful
Very bad.
berserk
Out of control with anger or excitement; wild or frenzied.
blanched
(Of an item of food) having been briefly immersed in boiling water, especially in order to remove the skin or to prepare it for further cooking.
blase
Unimpressed with or indifferent to something because one has experienced or seen it so often before.
bloodless
(Of a revolution or conflict) without violence or killing.
bored
Feeling weary and impatient because one is unoccupied or lacks interest in one’s current activity.
brave
Ready to face and endure danger or pain; showing courage.
calm
Not showing or feeling nervousness, anger, or other strong emotions.
charged
Having an electric charge.
chatty
Someone who talks a lot.
chilly
Unfriendly; not acting warm or nice.
clever
Good at learning things. .
cocky
Confident; full of oneself; arrogant.
cold
Unfriendly; showing no emotion.
cold-eyed
Cold in manner or appearance especially : coolly dispassionate cold-eyed analysis.
comfortable
Feeling easy and nice; feeling relaxed and safe.
confident
Feeling or showing confidence in oneself or one’s abilities or qualities.
confused
(Of a person) unable to think clearly; bewildered.
courageous
Brave; showing mental or spiritual strength.
cowardly
Someone who is afraid of things. .
creepy
Scary; unpleasant.
crimson
Of a rich deep red colour inclining to purple.
critical
Expressing adverse or disapproving comments or judgements.
deceitful
Not truthful; deliberately misleading.
delighted
Guilty of or involving deceit; deceiving or misleading others.
depressed
Flattened; pushed down.
despair
The complete loss or absence of hope.
despondent
In low spirits from loss of hope or courage.
detestable
Deserving intense dislike.
devastate
Destroy or ruin.
disappointed
Sad or displeased because someone or something has failed to fulfil one’s hopes or expectations.
disapproving
Expressing an unfavourable opinion.
discombobulated
To be confused.
disgust
A feeling of revulsion or strong disapproval aroused by something unpleasant or offensive.
disillusioned
Disappointed in someone or something that one discovers to be less good than one had believed.
dismayed
Cause (someone) to feel concern and distress.
disregarded
Pay no attention to; ignore.
disrespectful
Showing a lack of respect or courtesy; impolite.
distant
Emotionally withdrawn.
disturbed
Having had the normal pattern or functioning disrupted.
dominating
Have power and influence over.
dubious
Doubtful; difficult to believe.
eager
Being anxious or overly excited.
easy-going
Someone who is easy to get along with.
ecstatic
Joyful; very happy.
elated
Make (someone) ecstatically happy.
elation
Great happiness and exhilaration.
electric
Of, worked by, charged with, or producing electricity.
electrifying
Arousing a sudden sense of great excitement; thrilling.
embarrassed
Feeling or showing embarrassment.
embarrassment
A feeling of self-consciousness, shame, or awkwardness.
emotional
Full of feelings; moody.
empty
Containing nothing; not filled or occupied.
enamored
Be filled with love for.
energetic
Having a strong ability to do work; very active.
enraged
Very angry; furious.
enthusiasm
Intense and eager enjoyment, interest, or approval.
enthusiastic
Showing great excitement and readiness to do something; a great eagerness.
envious
Having spite and resentment because of another person’s success.
excited
Very enthusiastic and eager.
exultation
A feeling of triumphant elation or jubilation; rejoicing.
faithful
Having trust and belief.
fervent
Having or displaying a passionate intensity.
fervid
Very passionate or emotional, showing fervour.
festive
Happy, cheerful, jubilant.
feverish
Overheated without sweating; having a higher than normal body temperature.
fiery
Consisting of fire or burning strongly and brightly.
fine
Of high quality.
flushed
(Of a person’s skin) red and hot, typically as the result of illness or strong emotion.
frantic
Panicked excitement; a feeling that is excited, but in a fearful way.
frenetic
Fast and energetic in a rather wild and uncontrolled way.
frenzied
A state of being temporarily agitated or disorderly.
friendly
Someone who is nice to other people. .
frightened
Afraid or anxious.
frustrated
Feeling or expressing distress and annoyance resulting from an inability to change or achieve something.
fulfilled
Satisfied or happy because of fully developing one’s abilities or character.
funny
Used to describe someone who is amusing.
furious
Extremely angry.
fury
Wild or violent anger.
galvanic
Relating to or involving electric currents produced by chemical action.
galvanising
Shock or excite (someone) into taking action.
galvanizing
Shock or excite (someone) into taking action.
generous
Someone who shares their time or things with others.
gleeful
Full of great happiness.
gloomy
Unhappy; doubtful and dark.
good
Following the rules; having strong morals.
grief
Intense sorrow, especially caused by someone’s death.
grieving
Feel intense sorrow.
gruff
Abrupt or short in manner.
grumpy
Bad-tempered.
guilty
Culpable of or responsible for a specified wrongdoing.
happy
Joyful.
hard-working
Someone who works very hard.
hateful
Full of hate; full of extreme dislike or bad feelings.
hectic
Full of incessant or frantic activity.
hesitant
Tentative, unsure, or slow in acting or speaking.
hoarse
With a rough voice.
honest
Someone who is truthful and who doesn’t cheat or steal.
hopeful
Optimistic; thinking that something good will happen.
horrible
Causing or likely to cause horror; shocking.
hostile
Mean toward; having bad feelings or aggression toward something; being against or opposed to.
hot-blooded
Lustful; passionate.
humiliated
Make (someone) feel ashamed and foolish by injuring their dignity and pride.
hungry
Wanting something; having an urge for something.
hurt
Having felt pain; having been injured.
husky
Having a low, deep, and rough sound, especially in a voice.
hysterical
Related to a state of uncontrollable emotion; in a state of panic or mental breakdown.
ignored
Refuse to take notice of or acknowledge; disregard intentionally.
ill
Sick.
impassioned
Filled with or showing great emotion.
impassive
Not feeling or showing emotion.
important
Having high rank or status.
inadequate
Not enough.
incandescent
Emitting light as a result of being heated.
indifferent
Not caring one way or the other; having no feelings about something.
indignant
Angry about something unfair; acting upset or annoyed.
inferior
Lower in rank, status, or quality.
infuriated
Make (someone) extremely angry and impatient.
inquisitive
Curious; having a lot of questions.
insecure
Not firm or fixed; liable to give way or break.
insignificant
Unimportant; small as a percent of the whole.
inspired
Of extraordinary quality, as if arising from some external creative impulse.
interested
Showing curiosity or concern about something or someone; having a feeling of interest.
intimate
Closely acquainted; familiar.
irritated
Showing or feeling slight anger; annoyed.
isolated
Far away from other places, buildings, or people; remote.
jealous
Envious; wishing you had something someone else has.
jovial
Happy, cheerful.
jovial
Happy,cheeful.
joyful
Feeling, expressing, or causing great pleasure and happiness.
jubilant
Feeling or showing a joyful happiness.
judgmental
Of or concerning the use of judgement.
kind
Nice; thoughtful toward others; thinking about others’ feelings.
kind
Someone who behaves in a caring way towards other people.
lachrymose
Tearful or given to weeping.
lazy
An inactive person who avoids work.
liberated
(Of a person) free from social conventions or traditional ideas, especially with regard to sexual roles.
listless
(Of a person or their manner) lacking energy or enthusiasm.
lively
Full of life, energetic, active.
livid
Very angry; furious.
loathing
A feeling of intense dislike or disgust; hatred.
lonely
Sad because one has no friends or company.
loud
Someone who talks really loudly.
loving
Feeling or showing love or great care.
lucky
Someone who often has good fortune.
lyric
Poem-like having a rhythmic pattern and frequently rhyme, often written as lyrical””.
lyrical
Having poetic quality suitable for use in song.
mad
Crazy; not well mentally.
marvelous
Causing great wonder; extraordinary.
mature
Fully developed physically; full-grown.
mean
Someone who is nasty and unkind.
melancholy
Very sad; depressed.
moody
used to describe someone who behaves differently every time you meet them.
moving
In motion.
nasty
A mean, unpleasant person.
neat
A person who is very tidy.
nervous
Easily agitated or alarmed.
nervous
Someone who is easily startled by things.
nice
Someone who is friendly and kind.
nonchalant
Cool and calm; without a care or bother.
nonplussed
Confusion; unable to understand.
nonsubjective
Not shaped by personal experience, views, opinion, or knowledge.
objective
Not influenced by personal feelings or opinions in considering and representing facts.
obsessed
Preoccupy or fill the mind of (someone) continually and to a troubling extent.
open
Allowing access, passage, or a view through an empty space; not closed or blocked.
optimistic
Feeling that good things will happen; feeling positive.
overwhelm
Bury or drown beneath a huge mass of something, especially water.
overwrought
Bury or drown beneath a huge mass of something, especially water.
panic
Sudden uncontrollable fear or anxiety, often causing wildly unthinking behaviour.
peaceful
Quiet and calm.
pensive
In deep thought; having serious thoughts that are sometimes sad.
perfervid
Intense and impassioned.
perplexed
Completely baffled; very puzzled.
phlegmatic
Having an unemotional and stolidly calm disposition.
phlegmatical
Having an unemotional and stolidly calm disposition.
phrenetic
Fast and energetic in a rather wild and uncontrolled way.
playful
Full of fun; silly; enjoying things just for fun’s sake; not serious.
polite
Someone who has good manners.
popular
Somebody who is liked by many people.
possessed
(Of a person) completely controlled by an evil spirit.
powerful
Having great control or authority over others.
powerless
Unable to do anything; without power; without the ability to act.
protective
Intended to protect someone or something.
proud
Feeling great about something you did.
provocative
Causing anger or another strong reaction, especially deliberately.
quiet
Used to describe someone who doesn’t talk very much.
quizzical
In a way that asks a question; in a way that shows wondering.
rage
Violent uncontrollable anger.
rational
Sensible, sane; based on logical thought.
red
Describing objects of the red color.
reddened
Make or become red.
red-faced
Having a red face, especially as a result of embarrassment or shame.
red-hot
So hot as to glow red.
rejected
Dismiss as inadequate, unacceptable, or faulty.
remorseful
Regretful; feeling bad or guilty about something done in the past.
repugnant
Extremely distasteful; unacceptable.
resentful
Feeling or expressing bitterness or indignation at having been treated unfairly.
respected
Admire (someone or something) deeply, as a result of their abilities, qualities, or achievements.
responsive
Answering; reacting to something.
ridicule
The subjection of someone or something to contemptuous and dismissive language or behaviour.
rude
Bad mannered, impolite.
sarcastic
Acting with bitter humor often meant to be mean or hurtful; expressing feelings or saying things that are the opposite of what is meant in order to make a point.
scared
Fearful; frightened.
selfish
Used to describe someone who only thinks about themselves.
sensational
Causing great public interest and excitement.
sensitive
Having tender emotions; subject to feeling emotions easily.
serene
Calm; peaceful.
serious
Someone who is always very sensible (the opposite of silly).
shocked
Cause (someone) to feel surprised and upset.
shy
Quiet and a little bit nervous around other people.
silly
Having or showing a lack of common sense or judgement; absurd and foolish.
silly
Someone who is a bit foolish, or who doesn’t behave in a serious way.
sizzling
Very exciting or passionate.
skeptical
Not easily convinced; having doubts or reservations.
smart
Someone who is very clever.
somber
Dark or dull in colour or tone.
sore
(Of a part of one’s body) painful or aching.
sorrow
A feeling of deep distress caused by loss, disappointment, or other misfortune suffered by oneself or others.
sorrowful
Feeling sadness.
soulful
Expressing or appearing to express deep and often sorrowful feeling.
startled
Feeling or showing sudden shock or alarm.
starving
Suffering or dying from hunger.
stirred
Move a spoon or other implement round in (a liquid or other substance) in order to mix it thoroughly.
stolid
Calm, dependable, and showing little emotion or animation.
stressed
Experiencing mental or emotional strain or tension.
stunning
Extremely impressive or attractive.
stupid
Someone who is not clever.
submissive
Meek and obedient; giving in to the force of others.
sulky
Pouty; being in a sad, mopey mood; sad or angry and not wanting to talk about it.
sulky
Morose, bad-tempered, and resentful; refusing to be cooperative or cheerful.
supercharged
Supply with extra energy or power.
surprise
An unexpected or astonishing event, fact, etc.
suspicious
Feeling that something is wrong; not trusting.
tedious
Tiring and boring.
terrified
Cause to feel extreme fear.
testy
Easily irritated; impatient and somewhat bad-tempered.
threatened
State one’s intention to take hostile action against (someone) in retribution for something done or not done.
thrilling
Causing excitement and pleasure; exhilarating.
tidy
Someone who is very neat and well organised.
timid
Showing a lack of courage or confidence; easily frightened.
tired
Sleepy; needing sleep.
torrid
Very hot and dry.
touched
Feeling gratitude or sympathy; moved.
triumph
A great victory or achievement.
troubled
Beset by problems or difficulties.
umbrage
Offence or annoyance.
unblinking
Of a person or their eyes) not blinking.
undemonstrative
Not tending to express feelings, especially of affection, openly.
unemotional
Not having or showing strong feelings.
unhappy
Sad, not happy.
unlucky
Someone who often suffers from bad fortune. .
unrestrained
Not restrained or restricted.
untidy
Someone who is very messy.
unwell
Ill.
vain
Having or showing an excessively high opinion of one’s appearance, abilities, or worth.
vain
Someone who is a bit too fond of their looks.
vengeful
Full of a desire to retaliate; feeling a strong need to get back at someone.
victimized
Single (someone) out for cruel or unjust treatment.
vulnerable
Liable to be harmed.
weary
Very tired; exhausted; not feeling like dealing with a situation any more.
white
Of the colour of milk or fresh snow, due to the reflection of all visible rays of light; the opposite of black.
wicked
Very bad and mean-spirited.
wild
Crazy; out of control.
wise
Someone with a lot of common sense and knowledge.
withdrawn
Not wanting to communicate with other people.
worked up
Very angry, excited, or upset about something.
worried
Anxious or troubled about actual or potential problems.
worthless
Having no real value or use.
wrathful
Full of or characterized by intense anger.
wrong
Not correct or true; incorrect.
zestful
Characterized by great enthusiasm and energy.
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