Words to describe someone’s voice – writing reference

  • adenoidal:if someone’s voice is adenoidal, some of the sound seems to come through their nose
  • appealing:an appealing look, voice etc shows that you want help, approval, or agreement
  • breathy:with loud breathing noises
  • brittle:if you speak in a brittle voice, you sound as if you are about to cry
  • croaky:if someone’s voice sounds croaky, they speak in a low rough voice that sounds as if they have a sore throat
  • dead:if someone’s eyes are dead, or if their voice is dead, they feel or show no emotion
  • disembodied:a disembodied voice comes from someone who you cannot see
  • flat: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:a fruity voice or laugh is deep and strong in a pleasant way
  • grating:a grating voice, laugh, or sound is unpleasant and annoying
  • gravelly:a gravelly voice sounds low and rough
  • gruff:a gruff voice has a rough low sound
  • guttural:a guttural sound is deep and made at the back of your throat
  • high-pitched:a high-pitched voice or sound is very high
  • hoarse:someone who is hoarse or has a hoarse voice speaks in a low rough voice, usually because their throat is sore
  • honeyed:honeyed words or a honeyed voice sound very nice but you cannot trust the person who is speaking
  • husky:a husky voice is deep and sounds hoarse (=as if you have a sore throat), often in an attractive way
  • low adjective:a low voice or sound is quiet and difficult to hear
  • low adverb:in a deep voice, or with a deep sound
  • matter-of-fact:used about someone’s behaviour or voice
  • modulated:a modulated voice is controlled and pleasant to listen to
  • monotonous:a monotonous sound or voice is boring and unpleasant because it does not change in loudness or become higher or lower
  • nasal:someone with a nasal voice sounds as if they are speaking through their nose
  • orotund:an orotund voice is loud and clear
  • penetrating:a penetrating voice or sound is so high or loud that it makes you slightly uncomfortable
  • plummy: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:in a quiet voice
  • raucous:a raucous voice or noise is loud and sounds rough
  • ringing:a ringing sound or voice is very loud and clear
  • rough:a rough voice is not soft and is unpleasant to listen to
  • shrill:a shrill noise or voice is very loud, high, and unpleasant
  • silvery:a silvery voice or sound is clear, light, and pleasant
  • singsong:if you speak in a singsong voice, your voice rises and falls in a musical way
  • small:a small voice or sound is quiet
  • smoky:a smoky voice or smoky eyes are sexually attractive in a slightly mysterious way
  • softly spoken:someone who is softly spoken has a quiet gentle voice
  • sotto voce adjective, adverb:in a very quiet voice
  • stentorian:a stentorian voice sounds very loud and severe
  • strangled:a strangled sound is one that someone stops before they finish making it
  • strangulated:strangled
  • strident:a strident voice or sound is loud and unpleasant
  • taut:used about something such as a voice or expression that shows someone is nervous or angry
  • thick:if your voice is thick with an emotion, it sounds less clear than usual because of the emotion
  • thickly:with a low voice that comes mostly from your throat
  • thin:a thin voice or sound is high and unpleasant to listen to
  • throaty:a throaty sound is low and seems to come from deep in your throat
  • tight:a tight voice or expression shows that you are nervous or annoyed
  • toneless:a toneless voice does not express any emotion
  • tremulous:if something such as your voice or smile is tremulous, it is not steady, for example because you are afraid or excited
  • wheezy:a wheezy noise sounds as if it is made by someone who has difficulty breathing
  • wobbly:if your voice is wobbly, it goes up and down, usually because you are frightened, not confident, or are going to cry

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