Vocabulary Builders: Expressive Phrases, Page 4 (I-L)

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.


I capitulated by inadvertence

I cut my reflections adrift

I felt a qualm of apprehension

I suffered agonies of shyness

I took the good day from the hands of God as a perfect gift

I was in a somber mood

I was overshadowed by a deep boding

I was piqued

I yielded to the ingratiating mood of the day

Ill-bred insolence was his only weapon

Ill-dissimulated fits of ambition

Imbued with a vernal freshness

Immense and careless prodigality

Immense objects which dwarf us

Immersed in secret schemes

Immured in a trivial round of duty

Impassioned and earnest language

Impatient and authoritative tones

Impervious to the lessons of experience

Implying an immense melancholy

Imprisoned within an enchanted circle

In a deprecating tone of apology

In a flash of revelation

In a gale of teasing merriment

In a misery of annoyance and mortification

In a musing ecstasy of contemplation

In a sky stained with purple, the moon slowly rose

In a spirit of indulgent irony

In a strain of exaggerated gallantry

In a tone of after-dinner perfunctoriness

In a tone of musing surprise

In a tumult of self-approval and towering exultation

In a vague and fragmentary way

In a wise, superior, slightly scornful manner

In accents of menace and wrath

In its whole unwieldy compass

In moments of swift and momentous decision

In quest of something to amuse

In requital for various acts of rudeness

In the air was the tang of spring

In the dusky path of a dream

In the face of smarting disillusions

In the flush and heyday of youth and gaiety and loveliness

In the heyday of friendship

In the mild and mellow maturity of age

In the perpetual presence of everlasting verities

In this breathless chase of pleasure

In this chastened mood I left him

Incapable of initiative or boldness

Inconceivable perversion of reasoning

Indolently handsome eyes

Indulge in pleasing discursiveness

Ineffable sensation of irritability

Infantile insensibility to the solemnity of his bereavement

Infantine simplicity and lavish waste

Innumerable starlings clove the air

Insensible to its subtle influence

Inspired by the immortal flame of youth

Intangible and indescribable essence

Intense love of excitement and adventure

Intimations of unpenetrated mysteries

Into her eyes had come a hostile challenge

Into the purple sea the orange hues of heaven sunk silently

Into the very vestibule of death

Involuntarily she sighed

Involuntary awkwardness and reserve

Involved in a labyrinth of perplexities

It came to him with a stab of enlightenment

It elicited a remarkably clear and coherent statement

It is a flight beyond the reach of human magnanimity

It is a thing infinitely subtle

It is not every wind that can blow you from your anchorage

It lends no dazzling tints to fancy

It moved me to a strange exhilaration

It parted to a liquid horizon and showed the gray rim of the sea

It proved a bitter disillusion

It seemed intolerably tragic

It seemed to exhale a silent and calm authority

It was a breathless night of suspense

It was a desolating vision

It was a night of little ease to his toiling mind

It was a night of stupefying surprises

It was all infinitely soft and refreshing to the eye

It was an evening of great silences and spaces, wholly tranquil

It was sheer, exuberant, instinctive, unreasoning, careless joy

It was the ecstasy and festival of summer

It was torture of the most exquisite kind


Jealousies and animosities that pricked their sluggish blood to tingling

Joy rioted in his large dark eyes

Judging without waiting to ponder over bulky tomes


Kind of unscrupulous contempt for gravity

Kiss-provoking lips


Laden with the poignant scent of the garden honeysuckle

Language of excessive flattery and adulation

Lapped in soft music of adulation

Lapse into pathos and absurdity

Large, dark, luminous eyes that behold everything about them

Latent vein of whimsical humor

Lead to the strangest aberrations

Leaping from lambent flame into eager and passionate fire

Leave to the imagination the endless vista of possibilities

Life flowed in its accustomed stream

Lights and shadows of reviving memory crossed her face

Lionized by fashionable society

Long intertangled lines of silver streamlets

Lost in a delirious wonder

Lost in irritable reflection

Love hovered in her gaze

Ludicrous attempts of clumsy playfulness and tawdry eloquence

Luke-warm assurance of continued love

Lulled by dreamy musings

Luminous with great thoughts

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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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