Vocabulary Builders: Expressive Phrases, Page 6 (R-S)

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.


Radiant with the beautiful glamor of youth

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Red tape of officialdom

Redolent of the night lamp

Reflecting the solemn and unfathomable stars

Regarded with an exulting pride

Rehabilitated and restored to dignity

Remorselessly swept into oblivion

Resounding generalities and conventional rhetoric

Respect forbade downright contradiction

Restless and sore and haughty feelings were busy within

Retort leaped to his lips

Rigid adherence to conventionalities

Rudely disconcerting in her behavior

Rudely reminded of life's serious issues


Sacrificed to a futile sort of treadmill

Sadness prevailed among her moods

Scorched with the lightning of momentary indignation

Scorning such paltry devices

Scotched but not slain

Scrupulous morality of conduct

Seem to swim in a sort of blurred mist before the eyes

Seething with suppressed wrath

Seize on greedily

Sensuous enjoyment of the outward show of life

Serenity beamed from his look

Serenity of paralysis and death

Seriousness lurked in the depths of her eyes

Served to recruit his own jaded ideas

Set anew in some fresh and appealing form

Setting all the sane traditions at defiance

Shadowy vistas of sylvan beauty

She affected disdain

She assented in precisely the right terms

She bandies adjectives with the best

She challenged his dissent

She cherished no petty resentments

She curled her fastidious lip

She curled her lip with defiant scorn

She did her best to mask her agitation

She disarmed anger and softened asperity

She disclaimed fatigue

She fell into a dreamy silence

She fell into abstracted reverie

She felt herself carried off her feet by the rush of incoherent impressions

She flushed an agitated pink

She forced a faint quivering smile

She frowned incomprehension

She had an air of restrained fury

She had an undercurrent of acidity

She hugged the thought of her own unknown and unapplauded integrity

She lingered a few leisurely seconds

She nodded mutely

She nourished a dream of ambition

She permitted herself a delicate little smile

She poured out on him the full opulence of a proud recognition

She questioned inimically

She recaptured herself with difficulty

She regarded him stonily out of flint-blue eyes

She sat eyeing him with frosty calm

She seemed the embodiment of dauntless resolution

She seemed wrapped in a veil of lassitude

She shook hands grudgingly

She softened her frown to a quivering smile

She spoke with hurried eagerness

She spoke with sweet severity

She stilled and trampled on the inward protest

She stood her ground with the most perfect dignity

She strangled a fierce tide of feeling that welled up within her

She swept away all opposing opinion with the swift rush of her enthusiasm

She thrived on insincerity

She twitted him merrily

She was both weary and placated

She was conscious of a tumultuous rush of sensations

She was demure and dimly appealing

She was exquisitely simple

She was gripped with a sense of suffocation and panic

She was in an anguish of sharp and penetrating remorse

She was oppressed by a dead melancholy

She was stricken to the soul

She wore an air of wistful questioning

Sheer superfluity of happiness

Sickening contrasts and diabolic ironies of life

Silence fell

Singing lustily as if to exorcise the demon of gloom

Skirmishes and retreats of conscience

Slender experience of the facts of life

Slope towards extinction

Slow the movement was and tortuous

Slowly disengaging its significance from the thicket of words

So innocent in her exuberant happiness

Soar into a rosy zone of contemplation

Softened by the solicitude of untiring and anxious love

Solitary and sorely smitten souls

Some dim-remembered and dream-like images

Some exquisite refinement in the architecture of the brain

Some flash of witty irrelevance

Something curiously suggestive and engaging

Something eminently human beaconed from his eyes

Something full of urgent haste

Something indescribably reckless and desperate in such a picture

Something that seizes tyrannously upon the soul

Sore beset by the pressure of temptation

Specious show of impeccability

Spectacular display of wrath

Spur and whip the tired mind into action

Stale and facile platitudes

Stamped with unutterable and solemn woe

Startled into perilous activity

Startling leaps over vast gulfs of time

Stem the tide of opinion

Stern emptying of the soul

Stimulated to an ever deepening subtlety

Stirred into a true access of enthusiasm

Stony insensibility to the small pricks and frictions of daily life

Strange capacities and suggestions both of vehemence and pride

Strange laughings and glitterings of silver streamlets

Stripped to its bare skeleton

Strode forth imperiously

Struck by a sudden curiosity

Struck dumb with strange surprise

Stung by his thoughts, and impatient of rest

Stung by the splendor of the prospect

Subdued passages of unobtrusive majesty

Sublime indifference to contemporary usage and taste

Submission to an implied rebuke

Subtle indications of great mental agitation

Subtle suggestions of remoteness

Such things as the eye of history sees

Such was the petty chronicle

Suddenly a thought shook him

Suddenly overawed by a strange, delicious shyness

Suddenly smitten with unreality

Suddenly snuffed out in the middle of ambitious schemes

Suffered to languish in obscurity

Sugared remonstrances and cajoleries

Suggestions of veiled and vibrant feeling

Summer clouds floating feathery overhead

Sunk in a phraseological quagmire

Sunk into a gloomy reverie

Sunny silence broods over the realm of little cottages

Supreme arbiter of conduct

Susceptibility to fleeting impressions

Sweet smoke of burning twigs hovered in the autumn day

Swift summer into the autumn flowed

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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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