Vocabulary Builders: Expressive Phrases, Page 3 (F-H)

This section of EnhanceMyVocabulary.com focuses on expressive phrases. Use these literary expressions to develop your vocabulary and enhance your writing

Looking for words and phrases to enrich poetry and creative writing? This classic collection from Grenville Kleiser provides plenty of expressive phrases.

You can review these lists when you seek extra power in written literary works. You can also use them to develop your vocabulary. First, see if you can determine meanings of each word you don't know by studying the context of the phrase that contains the unknown word. Then, confirm your impressions by looking up and learning each unfamiliar word.


Familiar and endearing intimacy

Fatally and indissolubly united

Fathomless depths of suffering

Fear held him in a vice

Feeding his scholarly curiosity

Feeling humiliated by the avowal

Felicitousness in the choice and exquisiteness in the collocation of words

Fettered by poverty and toil

Feverish tide of life

Fine precision of intent

Fitful tumults of noble passion

Fleeting touches of something alien and intrusive

Floating in the clouds of reverie

Fluctuations of prosperity and adversity

Flushed with a suffusion that crimsoned her whole countenance

Forebodings possessed her

Foreshadowing summer's end

Forever echo in the heart

Forever sings itself in memory

Formless verbosity and a passionate rhetoric

Fragments of most touching melody

Free from rigid or traditional fetters

Freedom and integrity of soul

Freighted with strange, vague longings

Frosty thraldom of winter

Fugitive felicities of thought and sensation

Full of dreams and refinements and intense abstractions

Full of majestic tenderness


Gathering all her scattered impulses into a passionate act of courage

Gaze dimly through a maze of traditions

Generosity pushed to prudence

Gleams of sunlight, bewildered like ourselves, struggled, surprised, through the mist and disappeared

Glowing with haste and happiness

Go straight, as if by magic, to the inner meaning

Goaded on by his sense of strange importance

Graceful length of limb and fall of shoulders

Great shuddering seized on her

Green hills pile themselves upon each other's shoulders

Grim and sullen after the flush of the morning

Guilty of girlish sentimentality


Half choked by a rising paroxysm of rage

Half-suffocated by his triumph

Hardened into convictions and resolves

Haughtiness and arrogance were largely attributed to him

Haunt the recesses of the memory

Haunted with a chill and unearthly foreboding

He accosted me with trepidation

He adroitly shifted his ground

He airily lampooned their most cherished prejudices

He bowed submission

He braced himself to the exquisite burden of life

He condescended to intimate speech with her

He conversed with a colorless fluency

He could detect the hollow ring of fundamental nothingness

He could do absolutely naught

He drank of the spirit of the universe

He drew near to a desperate resolve

He evinced his displeasure by a contemptuous sneer or a grim scowl

He felt an unaccountable loathing

He felt the ironic rebound of her words

He flung diffidence to the winds

He flushed crimson

He found the silence intolerably irksome

He frowned perplexedly

He gave her a baffled stare

He gave himself to a sudden day-dream

He gave his ear to this demon of false glory

He grew wanton with success

He had acted with chivalrous delicacy of honor

He had the eye of an eagle in his trade

He had the gift of deep, dark silences

He held his breath in admiring silence

He laughed away my protestations

He lent no countenance to the insensate prattle

He listened greedily and gazed intent

He made a loathsome object

He made the politest of monosyllabic replies

He murmured a civil rejoinder

He murmured a vague acceptance

He mused a little while in grave thought

He never wears an argument to tatters

He only smiled with fatuous superiority

He paused, stunned and comprehending

He perceived the iron hand within the velvet glove

He raised a silencing hand

He ruled autocratically

He sacrificed the vulgar prizes of life

He sat on thorns

He set his imagination adrift

He shambled away with speed

He sighed deeply, from a kind of mental depletion

He smote her quickening sensibilities

He submitted in brooding silence

He suppressed every sign of surprise

He surrendered himself to gloomy thought

He threaded a labyrinth of obscure streets

He threw a ton's weight of resolve upon his muscles

He threw out phrases of ill-humor

He threw round a measuring eye

He treads the primrose path of dalliance

He used an unguarded adjective

He was a tall, dark, saturnine youth, sparing of speech

He was aware of emotion

He was born to a lively and intelligent patriotism

He was dimly mistrustful of it

He was discreetly silent

He was empty of thought

He was entangled in a paradox

He was giving his youth away by handfuls

He was haunted and begirt by presences

He was measured and urbane

He was most profoundly skeptical

He was nothing if not grandiloquent

He was quaking on the precipice of a bad bilious attack

He was utterly detached from life

He went hot and cold

He would fall into the blackest melancholies

He writhed in the grip of a definite apprehension

He writhed with impotent humiliation

Her blank gaze chilled you

Her bright eyes were triumphant

Her eyes danced with malice

Her eyes dilated with pain and fear

Her eyes were full of wondering interest

Her eyes were limpid and her beauty was softened by an air of indolence and languor

Her face stiffened anew into a gray obstinacy

Her face was lit up by a glow of inspiration and resolve

Her haughty step waxed timorous and vigilant

Her head throbbed dangerously

Her heart appeared to abdicate its duties

Her heart fluttered with a vague terror

Her heart pounded in her throat

Her heart was full of speechless sorrow

Her hurrying thoughts clamored for utterance

Her imagination recoiled

Her interest flagged

Her life had dwarfed her ambitions

Her limbs ran to marble

Her lips hardened

Her lips parted in a keen expectancy

Her mind was a store-house of innocuous anecdote

Her mind was beaten to the ground by the catastrophe

Her mood was unaccountably chilled

Her musings took a sudden and arbitrary twist

Her scarlet lip curled cruelly

Her smile was faintly depreciatory

Her smile was linked with a sigh

Her solicitude thrilled him

Her stare dissolved

Her step seemed to pity the grass it prest

Her strength was scattered in fits of agitation

Her stumbling ignorance which sought the road of wisdom

Her thoughts outstripped her erring feet

Her tone was gathering remonstrance

Her tongue on the subject was sharpness itself

Her tongue stumbled and was silent

Her voice had the coaxing inflections of a child

Her voice trailed off vaguely

Her voice was full of temper, hard-held

Her voice, with a tentative question in it, rested in air

Her wariness seemed put to rout

His accents breathed profound relief

His agitation increased

His brow grew knit and gloomy

His brow was in his hand

His conscience leapt to the light

His constraint was excruciating

His curiosity is quenched

His dignity counseled him to be silent

His ears sang with the vibrating intensity of his secret existence

His eyes had a twinkle of reminiscent pleasantry

His eyes literally blazed with savage fire

His eyes shone with the pure fire of a great purpose

His eyes stared unseeingly

His face caught the full strength of the rising wind

His face dismissed its shadow

His face fell abruptly into stern lines

His face lit with a fire of decision

His face showed a pleased bewilderment

His face torn with conflict

His face was gravely authoritative

His gaze faltered and fell

His gaze searched her face

His gaze seemed full of unconquerable hopefulness

His hand supported his chin

His hands were small and prehensible [prehensible = capable of being seized]

His heart asserted itself again, thunderously beating

His heart rebuked him

His heart was full of enterprise

His impatient scorn expired

His last illusions crumbled

His lips loosened in a furtively exultant smile

His lips seemed to be permanently parted in a good-humored smile

His mind echoed with words

His mind leaped gladly to meet new issues and fresh tides of thought

His mind was dazed and wandering in a mist of memories

His mood yielded

His mouth quivered with pleasure

His passions vented themselves with sneers

His pulses leaped anew

His reputation had withered

His sensibilities were offended

His shrewd gaze fixed appraisingly upon her

His soul full of fire and eagle-winged

His soul was compressed into a single agony of prayer

His soul was wrung with a sudden wild homesickness

His speech faltered

His swift and caustic satire

His temper was dark and explosive

His thoughts galloped

His thoughts were in clamoring confusion

His tone assumed a certain asperity

His torpid ideas awoke again

His troubled spirit shifted its load

His vagrant thoughts were in full career

His voice insensibly grew inquisitorial

His voice was thick with resentment and futile protest

His whole face was lighted with a fierce enthusiasm

His whole frame seemed collapsed and shrinking

His whole tone was flippant and bumptious

His words trailed off brokenly

His youthful zeal was contagious

Hope was far and dim

How sweet and reasonable the pale shadows of those who smile from some dim corner of our memories

Humiliating paltriness of revenge

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Editor's note: This section of EnhanceMyVocabulary.com is excerpted and adapted from Project Gutenberg's Fifteen Thousand Useful Phrases, by Grenville Kleiser.

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