Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

Words used to describe writing or speech style

articulate

adjective

able to express your thoughts, arguments, and ideas clearly and effectively

articulate

adjective

articulate writing or speech is clear and easy to understand

chatty

adjective

a chatty writing style is friendly and informal

circuitous

adjective

taking a long time to say what you really mean when you are talking or writing about something

clean

adjective

clean language or humour does not offend people, especially because it does not involve sex

conversational

adjective

a conversational style of writing or speaking is informal, like a private conversation

crisp

adjective

crisp speech or writing is clear and effective

declamatory

adjective

expressing feelings or opinions with great force

diffuse

adjective

using too many words and not easy to understand

discursive

adjective

including information that is not relevant to the main subject

economical

adjective

an economical way of speaking or writing does not use more words than are necessary

elliptical

adjective

suggesting what you mean rather than saying or writing it clearly

eloquent

adjective

expressing what you mean using clear and effective language

emphatic

adjective

making your meaning very clear because you have very strong feelings about a situation or subject

emphatically

adverb

very firmly and clearly

epigrammatic

adjective

expressing something such as a feeling or idea in a short and clever or funny way

epistolary

adjective

relating to the writing of letters

euphemistic

adjective

euphemistic expressions are used for talking about unpleasant or embarrassing subjects without mentioning the things themselves

flowery

adjective

flowery language or writing uses many complicated words that are intended to make it more attractive

fluent

adjective

expressing yourself in a clear and confident way, without seeming to make an effort

formal

adjective

correct or conservative in style, and suitable for official or serious situations or occasions

gossipy

adjective

a gossipy letter is lively and full of news about the writer of the letter and about other people

grandiloquent

adjective

expressed in extremely formal language in order to impress people, and often sounding silly because of this

idiomatic

adjective

expressing things in a way that sounds natural

in

adjective, adverb, preposition

using a particular type or style of writing

inarticulate

adjective

not able to express clearly what you want to say

inarticulate

adjective

not spoken or pronounced clearly

incoherent

adjective

unable to express yourself clearly

informal

adjective

used about language or behaviour that is suitable for using with friends but not in formal situations

journalistic

adjective

similar in style to journalism

learned

adjective

a learned piece of writing shows great knowledge about a subject, especially an academic subject

literary

adjective

involving books or the activity of writing, reading, or studying books

literary

adjective

relating to the kind of words that are used only in stories or poems, and not in normal writing or speech

lyric

adjective

using words to express feelings in the way that a song would

lyrical

adjective

having the qualities of music

ornate

adjective

using unusual words and complicated sentences

orotund

adjective

containing extremely formal and complicated language intended to impress people

parenthetical

adjective

not directly connected with what you are saying or writing

pejorative

adjective

a pejorative word, phrase etc expresses criticism or a bad opinion of someone or something

picturesque

adjective

picturesque language is unusual and interesting

pithy

adjective

a pithy statement or piece of writing is short and very effective

poetic

adjective

expressing ideas in a very sensitive way and with great beauty or imagination

polemical

adjective

using or supported by strong arguments

ponderous

adjective

ponderous writing or speech is serious and boring

portentous

adjective

trying to seem very serious and important, in order to impress people

prolix

adjective

using too many words and therefore boring

punchy

adjective

a punchy piece of writing such as a speech, report, or slogan is one that has a strong effect because it uses clear simple language and not many words

rambling

adjective

a rambling speech or piece of writing is long and confusing

readable

adjective

writing that is readable is clear and able to be read

rhetorical

adjective

relating to a style of speaking or writing that is effective or intended to influence people

rhetorical

adjective

written or spoken in a way that is impressive but is not honest

rhetorically

adverb

in a way that expects or wants no answer

rhetorically

adverb

using or relating to rhetoric

rough

adjective

a rough drawing or piece of writing is not completely finished

roundly

adverb

in a strong and clear way

sententious

adjective

expressing opinions about right and wrong behaviour in a way that is intended to impress people

sesquipedalian

adjective

using a lot of long words that most people do not understand

Shakespearean

adjective

using words in the way that is typical of Shakespeare’s writing

slangy

adjective

containing or using a lot of slang

stylistic

adjective

relating to ways of creating effects, especially in language and literature

succinct

adjective

expressed in a very short but clear way

turgid

adjective

using language in a way that is complicated and difficult to understand

unprintable

adjective

used for describing writing or words that you think are offensive

vague

adjective

someone who is vague does not clearly or fully explain something

vaguely

adverb

in a way that is not clear

verbose

adjective

using more words than necessary, and therefore long and boring

well-turned

adjective

a well-turned phrase is one that is expressed well

worded

adjective

expressed in a particular way

wordy

adjective

using more words than are necessary, especially long or formal words

articulately

adverb

circuitously

adverb

circumlocutory

adjective

conversationally

adverb

eloquently

adverb

euphemistically

adverb

fluently

adverb

idiomatically

adverb

inarticulately

adverb

incoherently

adverb

lyrically

adverb

parenthetically

adverb

pejoratively

adverb

pithily

adverb

pleonastic

adjective

ponderously

adverb

portentously

adverb

sensationalist

adjective

stylistically

adverb

succinctly

adverb

be couched in something

to be expressed a particular way

have something/a lot/nothing etc to say for yourself

to be fairly/very/not at all keen to talk, especially about yourself and your reasons for doing something

with (your) tongue in (your) cheek

if you write or say something with tongue in cheek, you intend it to be humorous and do not mean it seriously

mom jeans

a style of loose-fitting jeans with a high waist, often considered unfashionable

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary

endies

Employed but with No Disposable Income or Savings: people who are in work but only earn just enough to live on

add a word

Blog

A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog