I found the following great resource on Tumblr and writerformypaper.com which will appeal to any authors/writers visiting my blog:
- adenoidal (adj): if someone’s voice is adenoidal, some of the sound seems to come through their nose
- appealing (adj): an appealing look/voice shows that you want help, approval, or agreement
- breathy (adj): with loud breathing noises
- brittle (adj): if you speak in a brittle voice, you sound as if you are about to cry
- croaky (adj): if someone’s voice sounds croaky, they speak in a low, rough voice that sounds as if they have a sore throat
- dead (adj): if someone’s eyes or voice are dead, they feel or show no emotion
- disembodied (adj): a disembodied voice comes from someone who you cannot see
- flat (adj): spoken in a voice that does not go up and down; this word is often used for describing the speech of people from a particular region
- fruity (adj): a fruity voice or laugh is deep and strong in a pleasant way
- grating (adj): a grating voice, laugh, or sound is unpleasant and annoying
- gravelly (adj): a gravelly voice sounds low and rough
- gruff (adj): this voice has a rough, low sound
- guttural (adj): a guttural sound is deep and made at the back of your throat
- high-pitched (adj): true to its name, a high-pitched voice or sound is very high
- hoarse (adj): someone who is hoarse, or has a hoarse voice, speaks in a low, rough voice, usually because their throat is sore
- honeyed (adj): honeyed words or a honeyed voice sound very nice, but you cannot trust the person who is speaking
- husky (adj): a husky voice is deep and sounds hoarse (as if you have a sore throat), often in an attractive way
- low (adj): a low voice is quiet and difficult to hear; also used for describing a deep voice that has a long wavelength
- matter-of-fact (adj): usually used if the person speaking knows what they are talking about (or absolutely think they know what they are talking about)
- modulated (adj): a modulated voice is controlled and pleasant to listen to
- monotonous (adj): this kind of voice is boring and unpleasant due to the fact that it does not change in loudness or become higher/lower
- nasal (adj): someone with a nasal voice sounds as if they are speaking through their nose
- orotund (adj): an orotund voice is loud and clear
- penetrating (adj): a penetrating voice is so high or loud that it makes you slightly uncomfortable
- plummy (adj): a plummy voice or way of speaking is considered to be typical of an English person of a high social class; this word shows that you dislike people who speak like this
- quietly (adj): in a soft, quiet voice
- raucous (adj): a raucous voice or noise is loud and sounds rough
- ringing (adj): a ringing voice is very loud and clear
- rough (adj): a rough voice is not soft and is unpleasant to listen to
- shrill (adj): a shrill voice is very loud, high, and unpleasant
- silvery (adj): this voice is clear, light, and pleasant
- singsong (adj): if you speak in a singsong voice, your voice rises and falls in a musical way
- small (adj): a small voice is quiet
- smoky (adj): a smoky voice is sexually attractive in a slightly mysterious way
- softly spoken (adj): someone who is softly spoken has a quiet, gentle voice
- soft-spoken (adj): speaking or said in a quiet, gentle voice
- sotto voce (adj, adv): in a very quiet voice
- stentorian (adj): a stentorian voice sounds very loud and severe
- strangled (adj): a strangled sound is one that someone stops before they finish making it
- strident (adj): this voice is loud and unpleasant
- taut (adj): used about something such as a voice that shows someone is nervous or angry
- thick (adj): if your voice is thick with an emotion, it sounds less clear than usual because of the emotion
- thickly (adv): with a low voice that comes mostly from your throat
- thin (adj): a thin voice or sound is high and unpleasant to listen to
- throaty (adj): a throaty sound is low and seems to come from deep in your throat
- tight (adj): shows that you are nervous or annoyed
- toneless (adj): does not express any emotion
- tremulous (adj): if your voice is tremulous, it is not steady; for example, because you are afraid or excited
- wheezy (adj): a wheezy noise sounds as if it is made by someone who has difficulty breathing
- wobbly (adj): if your voice is wobbly, it goes up and down, usually because you are frightened, not confident, or are going to cry
- booming (adj): very loud and attention-getting
- quavering (adv): if your voice quavers, it is not steady because you are feeling nervous or afraid
- a voice like a foghorn: very loud voice
- in an undertone: using a quiet voice so that someone cannot hear you
- someone’s dulcet tones: the sound of someone’s voice as they speak
For thousands more examples, read my award-winning book Emotional Beats, the easy way to convert your writing into palpable feelings (free on Kindle Unlimited) or check it out here.
A great way to show anger, fear, indifference, and the whole range of emotions that characterize the human experience, is through beats. These action snippets that pepper dialogue can help describe a wide range of emotions, while avoiding lazy writing. The power of beats lies in their innate ability to create richer, more immediate, deeper writing.
This book includes hundreds of examples that you can use for your inspiration, so that you, too, can harness this technique to easily convert your writing into palpable feelings.
Wow. I could never imagine that so many words existed to describe someone’s voice. I like the similar posts on Fear and Worry called Emotional Beats. Wonderful and entertaining. Insightful too. I plan to keep these lists near me when I write,
Thank you so much, Mariam! I hope they inspire your writing 🙂
Hello Nicholas! Thank you for sharing this helpful list. I am wondering if you’ve ever come across a similar list, but one with more complimentary terms.
Not yet but I’ll be sure to share it when I do!
This is great! Thank you, Nicholas!?
I’m glad you found it useful 🙂
Love that list. LOVE ”gravely voice”. I find it a stroke of genius.
So glad to hear it! Thanks 🙂
Reblogged this on rishikaspeaks and commented:
Some great tips and ideas for writers – that evasive description of how someone’s emotions are voiced is not so evasive anymore, thanks to Nicholas’ list.
Thanks, I can really use these! 🙂
Glad to hear it! Thanks for the visit and the comment! 🙂
Great list! We romance writer use these a lot! Thanks for sharing!