Vocabulary Builders: Expressive Phrases, Page 5 (M-Q)

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.


Magnanimous indifference to meticulous niceties

Making the ear greedy to remark offense

Marching down to posterity with divine honors

Marked out for some strange and preternatural doom

Mawkishly effeminate sentiment

Memories plucked from wood and field

Memory was busy at his heart

Merged in a sentiment of unutterable sadness and compassion

Microscopic minuteness of eye

Misgivings of grave kinds

Mockery crept into her tone

Molded by the austere hand of adversity

Moments of utter idleness and insipidity

Moods of malicious reaction and vindictive recoil

Morn, in yellow and white, came broadening out of the mountains

Mumble only jargon of dotage

My body is too frail for its moods


Nature seemed to revel in unwonted contrasts

New ambitions pressed upon his fancy

New dreams began to take wing in his imagination

Night after night the skies were wine-blue and bubbling with stars

Night passes lightly in the open world, with its stars and dews and perfumes

Nights of fathomless blackness

No mark of trick or artifice

Noble and sublime patience

Nursed by brooding thought


Obsessed with the modishness of the hour

Occasional flashes of tenderness and love

Oddly disappointing and fickle

One gracious fact emerges here

One long torture of soul

One of the golden twilights which transfigure the world

Oppressed and disheartened by an all-pervading desolation

Oppressed with a confused sense of cumbrous material

Outweighing years of sorrow and bitterness

Over and over the paroxysms of grief and longing submerged her

Overhung and overspread with ivy

Overshadowed by a vague depression


Pale and vague desolation

Pallor of reflected glories

Palpitating with rage and wounded sensibility

Panting after distinction

Peace brooded over all

Pelted with an interminable torrent of words

Penetrate beneath the surface to the core

Peopled the night with thoughts

Perpetual gloom and seclusion of life

Pertinent to the thread of the discussion

Pervasive silence which wraps us in a mantle of content

Piles of golden clouds just peering above the horizon

Platitudinous and pompously sentimental

Plaudits of the unlettered mob

Pleasant and flower-strewn vistas of airy fancy

Pledged with enthusiastic fervor

Plumbing the depth of my own fears

Poignant doubts and misgivings

Power of intellectual metamorphosis

Power to assuage the thirst of the soul

Precipitated into mysterious depths of nothingness

Preening its wings for a skyward flight

Pressing cares absorbed him

Pride working busily within her

Proclaimed with joyous defiance

Prodigal of discriminating epithets

Prodigious boldness and energy of intellect

Products of dreaming indolence

Profound and chilling solitude of the spot

Proof of his imperturbability and indifference

Provocative of bitter hostility

Pulling the strings of many enterprises

Purge the soul of nonsense


Quickened and enriched by new contacts with life and truth

Quivering with restrained grief

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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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