Vocabulary: 10 Evocative Describing Words to Describe Personality

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It’s easy to get into the habit of using the same words over and over again when we’ve been learning a language for a while. I know I’m guilty of it at times… Are you?

Don’t get me wrong, having a repertoire of words you feel comfortable using in a second language is an achievement in itself.

The problem is when you realize, for example, that suddenly everyone and everything you do is “nice”. You find yourself saying things like, “I had a nice weekend.” Followed by “The weather was really nice.” “Everybody at the party was so nice.” or “That’s a nice dress!”

Of course, there’s nothing actually wrong with the word “nice”. And, there is certainly a time and place to use it! It’s just that it’s not a particularly creative or evocative adjective.

(If you feel, like I’ve just ruined one of your go-to adjectives, don’t worry! “Nice” just happens to be one of my lazy fallbacks. My sister has been known to tell me off for not paying attention when I’m absent-mindedly saying everything is “nice” via text message. It’s just an example of a word, that I, personally, use too much at times. Don’t take it personally!)

Language is a powerful tool. It has the ability to paint a picture and tell a story. With just one word, you can even capture the essence of a person if need be.

So, today, I’m sharing with you 10 of my favorite adjectives for describing personality - starting with the positive and working my way down to the negative.

Would you describe yourself as the life of the party, bubbly and gregarious? Image Source.
  1. effervescent /ɛfəˈvɛsənt/ - someone happy, energetic and enthusiastic; bubbly; full of life
  2. humble /ˈhʌmb(ə)l/ - someone modest, not proud, who believes they are not important
  3. gregarious /ɡrɪˈɡɛːrɪəs/ - someone sociable, who likes to be around other people
  4. capricious /kəˈpriSHəs/ - someone unpredictable or inconstant who’s mood or behavior changes suddenly
  5. naive /nɑːˈiːv/ - someone innocent who believes that people’s intentions are generally good; someone who may be lacking in experience or judgment
  6. cunning /ˈkʌnɪŋ/ - someone clever who gets what they want by tricking people often through evasion or deceit
  7. aloof /əˈlo͞of/ - someone cool and distant, not friendly
  8. insipid /ɪnˈsɪpɪd/ - someone without a personality or strong character; plain or boring
  9. miserable /ˈmɪz(ə)rəb(ə)l/ - someone who is very unhappy all the time
  10. surly /ˈsərlē/ - someone unfriendly, often in a bad mood and not polite
Nobody wants to be described as insipid, bland or boring. Photo by Krysztof PusczńskiImage Source

Can you think of someone who each of these adjectives describes? I find the best way to memorize new vocabulary is through association. Take a moment to make a mental note or better yet, write down a one-sentence description of someone you know using each of these new describing words. The sooner you start using new vocabulary, the sooner you’ll feel comfortable incorporating it naturally into your speaking and writing.  

What are your favorite describing words for personality? And, what go-to adjectives would you like to use less? Comment below.


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