Read our ultimate list of tone words to describe an author’s tone in a story. Set the mood in your story using our huge list of words used for tones.
Related: Feeling Words List
We are also providing general examples for every tone word so you can easily understand the meaning of every tone word.
200 Examples of Tone Words in Writing
Tone Words That Start With ‘A’
: feeling embarrassed, humiliated, uncomfortable, or disconcerted
Example- After losing an easy game the players looked abashed.
: hating, or disliking something strongly
Example- People are abhorring such un-human practices.
: ridiculous, silly, or illogical
Example- Today’s speech of the president was absurd.
: something difficult to understand
Example– The abstruse ideas of the general failed the whole mission.
: indicating or suggesting someone has done something wrong.
Example- The host of the show started presenting accusatory remarks about the guest.
: harsh, sharp, forthright, or hurtful
Example- The judge’s acerbic comments made the contestant break into tears.
: liking; respecting someone, or something
Example- He was merely admiring the new neighbour.
: loving and admiring someone very much
Example- She gave an adoring smile to the helpful stranger.
: friendly, and good-natured
Example- Her new boss was extremely affable.
: hostile, forceful, or determined
Example- Mr. Tom got so aggressive after the lady rejected his proposal.
: upset, angry, annoyed, offended, or indignant
Example- He felt aggrieved after listening to the rejection.
: pleasantly entertained, diverted, or pleased
Example- She got totally amused by his singing.
: having mixed feelings, being uncertain, or showing contradictory feelings
Example- They both were ambivalent about the future of their marriage.
: someone full of life or excitement; spirited, lively, vibrant
Example- Rachel’s presence animated the party.
: worried, nervous, or at unease
Example- They were extremely anxious about their child’s sickness.
: feeling or showing no interest, concern, or emotion
Example- Most people remain apathetic to the problems of the homeless.
: feeling sorry or showing regret for your action that caused trouble, inconvenience, or hurt someone; regretfully acknowledging your fault or failure.
Example- Peter was so apologetic for not visiting her mother at the hospital.
: having or showing appreciation, gratitude, or pleasure
Example- The concert was filled with an appreciative audience.
: feeling worried or showing a fear about the future
Example- Sam felt apprehensive about his first day as a teacher in the school.
: very enthusiastic, or passionate
Example- Rick used to be an ardent supporter of the party, but now he is not.
: displaying pride, self-worth, self-importance in an unpleasant way
Example- John might be a successful businessman, but he always sounds arrogant whenever he talks.
: controlling everything; insisting on blind submission to someone, or something; complete obedience
Example- The country was witnessing an authoritarian regime.
: behaving confidently, firm to once opinion, or belief
Example- You will have to be assertive to win the election.
: filled with awe, amazed, or impressed
Example- She looked at him awestruck, at their first
Tone Words That Start With ‘B’
: kind, generous; well-meaning
Example- A benevolent man helped a poor family in need.
: very confused, perplexed, or puzzled; uncertain
Example- He looked bewildered on the first day of his job at the airport.
: rough, rude, or ill-mannered
Example- His new manager was both boorish and arrogant.
: daring, courageous, or fearless
Example- The troop needed to act boldly on the risky mission.
: quick, short, and rude in speech; blunt in manner
Example- The receptionist was a little brusque with the elders.
Tone Words That Start With ‘C’
: cruel, unkind, uncaring, cold, heartless, or insensitive
Example- It was a callous act and needed to be condemned.
: honest, truthful,or straightforward
Example- Tom was completely candid at his office meeting.
: intended to warn, gives a warning; urging caution
Example- Before sailing ahead the caption gave cautionary advice.
: expressing praise, honour, or happiness; celebrating something important
Example- At night we all had a celebratory dinner.
: talkative, friendly, or informal
Example- The housekeeping was very chatty
: happy and positive in feeling, behaviour, or appearance.
Example- Alina always has a cheerful face.
: easily angered, bad-tempered, or irritable
Example- Mr. Smith was the only choleric teacher in the whole school.
: rude, surly, boorish, or impolite
Example- It would be churlish to reject the proposal.
: a saying, or a remark, or an idea often used; trite; overused, stereotype, or commonplace
Example- It may sound clichè but it is a true story.
: familiar and informal conversation; everyday language
Example- Students can easily understand a colloquial speech.
: humorous, entertaining, or amusing
Example- His new novel is a comic tragedy.
: willingly doing what they are asked to do; submissive; obedient
Example- The manager wanted a compliant team, but he got the opposite.
: showing or having concern and sympathy for the other
Example- Adam was truly compassionate and caring.
: worried, anxious, troubled, or uneasy
Example- Anna gave a concerned look to Bob while saying goodbye.
: willing to end a disagreement with someone, intended or likely to pacify
Example- The delegations showed a conciliatory approach at the meeting.
: showing a superior attitude towards others
Example- He had no friends because of his condescending attitude.
: feeling or showing happiness or satisfaction
Example- For the first time in his life, Jim was in a contented space.
: confused, perplexed, or bewildered
Example- The new schedule confounded the whole crew.
: having or showing dislike; scornful
Example- He was openly contemptuous of his new job.
: thinking deeply in a serious and calm way; thoughtful
Example- After a stressful day, Tom went for a contemplative walk.
: causing or likely to cause an argument; disagreement
Example- A contentious issue suddenly arises in the group.
: intentionally causing pain or suffering to others, extremely unkind
Example- The judges made some cruel remarks.
: criticizing; finding fault; crucial, or deciding.
Example- Her critical gaze was a sign for everyone to change and improve.
: eager or interested in knowing or learning something
Example- Jill got afraid, but his curious nature pushed her to look inside the basement.
: believing that people always act selfishly
Example- She has a strong cynical view of the riches.
Tone Words That Start With ‘D’
: expressing contempt or ridicules; mocks, scorn
Example- Sam had always talked with his employees in a derisive tone.
: expressing low opinion, disrespectful, or insulting
Example- Her work was taken in a derogatory way.
: intended to defend or protect; guarding, or watchful
Example- He was very defensive about his past life.
: not willing to accept criticism, refusing to obey authority
Example- She remained defiant, even after her project failed badly.
: causing someone to lose the respect of others; damaging or lowering someone’s reputation
Example- The mayor’s speech was found demeaning to a group of people.
: causing someone to lose confidence; dispiriting
Example- It was demoralizing for the whole team.
: low in spirits, sad, or gloomy
Example- Alan looked even more depressed.
: not emotionally interested; not attached; separated; not involved
Example- She tried to remain emotionally detached from him.
: showing or feeling hopeless; resulting from despair; losing all confidence
Example- Her despairing face was evident to everyone.
: showing characteristics of the devil; extremely bad; devilish, or unpleasant
Example- Jimmy’s diabolic plan got badly flopped.
: someone serious, calm, controlled, impressive and therefore deserves respect
Example- He was the only dignified man in the whole office.
: expressing disapproval; having an unfavourable opinion
Example- She gave a disapproving look to everyone in the meeting.
: feeling or showing extreme dislike, disapproval, disgust, or revulsion
Example- Jill was disgusted by her roommate’s friends.
: making one feel disappointed, less confident, less hopeful; discouraging, dispiriting
Example- The morning news was very disheartening.
: causing gloom, sadness, or depression; depressingly bad
Example- The last year had been truly dismal.
: calm and reasonable; not affected by emotions; fair, or neutral
Example- His new novel is intended to bring a more dispassionate story of that war.
: causing sorrow, anxiety; pain or suffering affecting the body; mental or physical suffering, or upsetting
Example- It was very distressing for him to find a new job.
: easily managed, influenced, persuade or control; submissive, compliant
Example- The docile people of the country were the reason for the poor government.
: someone certain that they are right and refuses to consider others’ opinion; expressing opinion very strongly or positively as if they were facts
Example- He became less dogmatic after she came into his life.
: basic, simple, dull, boring, unexcited, or flat.
Example- Early, Josh had a very dry personality, but it changed with time.
: doubtful, questionable, suspectful, not trustable; lacking certainty
Example- She was dubious about his promises of marriage.
Tone Words That Start With ‘E’
: serious and determined; sincere; showing the depth of feelings
Example- Alan is a great teacher and an earnest man.
: high-spirited, excited, bubbly, elated, or enthusiastic
Example- After receiving the award the winner got very ebullient.
: self-centered; showing self-importance, or arrogance; boastful
Example- His egotistical behaviour became the sole reason for his breakup.
: extremely happy or excited after an achievement
or an event.
Example- Sam was elated after the birth of his first child.
: high-minded, high, lofty, raised up; exhilarated in mood or feeling.
Example- His thoughts were elevated after joining the NGO.
: well expressed writing or speech that persuades people; effective, fluent, persuasive, or clearly expressed
Example- He gave a very eloquent reason for his resignation from the company.
: ability to understand and share feelings or emotions of others
Example- Everyone needs a kind and empathetic friend in life.
: to please, to delight, fascinate, or charm
Example- Everyone was truly enchanted by her appearance at the party.
: giving confidence or hope; promising
Example- It is very encouraging that more people are joining our cause.
: making someone like you; evoking affection, or admiration
Example- She has a great endearing personality.
: to make extremely angry; to fill with rage
Example- People got enraged at the new government rules.
: having or showing intense interest in something; keen, eager, or ardent
Example- Tom was very enthusiastic about making a treehouse with his dad.
: avoiding giving clear or direct answers; deceptive; avoiding something
Example- He was giving evasive answers about coming to the party.
: having or showing higher state of energy, or enthusiasm; feeling very happy
Example- She was very excited about her eighteenth birthday.
: very happy and excited
Example- Adam felt strangely exhilarated on his first day at the job.
Tone Words That Start With ‘F’
: treating serious subjects with inappropriate humour; joking at an inappropriate time.
Example- He can be facetious at all wrong times.
: very silly, absurd, ridiculous, or unreasonable
Example- The farcical situation has now turned into a serious problem.
: afraid, frightened, scared, worried, or causing fear
Example- People are fearful after a sudden incident.
: official or traditional; according to the usual requirements, customs, form, or rules.
Example- The whole office had a formal dinner party last night.
: honest, sincere, direct, and telling the truth, while having the risk of causing bad feelings
Example- To be frank, I don’t think you will pass the test.
: feeling or showing discouragement, annoyance, anger, or distress because of your inability to achieve or resolve something.
Example- He started shouting in frustration.
: open, direct, outspoken, or straightforward
Example- It’s not easy to be forthright at critical times.
: a strong feeling of something bad or terrible will happen soon; an omen, or a prediction
Example- Her forebodings soon became realities.
: behaving in a silly or foolish way; not being serious and sensible in attitude or behaviour; unimportant
Example- He finally apologized for being so frivolous at the meeting.
Tone Words That Start With ‘G’
: kind, calm, mild, soft; not severe, strong, or violent; moderate
Example- Our new teacher’s voice is very gentle.
: interested in death, dead bodies, or human sufferings; frightening or ugly
Example- She had a ghoulish friend who loved reading horrific novels.
: hopeless, sad, depressing, melancholy; deeply or partially dark in appearance; causing gloom
Example- The weather suddenly got gloomy.
: very bad, serious, worrying, critical, important
Example- John didn’t know that he had made a grave mistake.
: worrying, or without hope; severe, horrible, frightful, harsh, or sinister
Example- Her expressions were so grim that made everybody leave.
Tone Words That Start With ‘H’
: unfortunate, unlucky, or doomed
Example- The hapless victims of the storm were now homeless.
: considering yourself better than others; being proud and unfriendly
Example- He spokes in a haughty manner with everyone in the office.
: severe, difficult, hard, tough, grim, cruel, or rough
Example- After coming home so late, Anna listened to some harsh words from her parents.
: not proud, arrogant, or haughty; down-to-earth, modest, poor, low in rank or position
Example- Though he is a successful businessman and billionaire, he is a very humble man.
: funny, comical, laughable, or amusing
Example- The writer is famous for his humorous and heart-touching stories.
: extremely funny and causing great laughter; extremely amusing; jovial
Example- It was the most hilarious and embarrassing moment of her life when she fell on her wedding cake.
: unable to control emotions because of extreme fear, anger, or excitement.
Example- When she heard the strange sound coming out of her basement she became hysterical.
: lacking real value, worth, or sincerity; pointless
Example- Joe kept on deceiving her parents with hollow promises.
: having or showing strong dislike or opposition; unfriendly, aggressive, or inhospitable
Example- Alex’s wife was hostile to the idea of him leaving the country for his new job.
: eager to find mistakes in everything; extremely critical, fussy, or overcritical
Example- He tends to be hypercritical when buying clothes.
Tone Words That Start With ‘I’
: not biased or partial; fair; neutral
Example- People protested for an impartial law.
: filled with intense passion or feelings; full of emotion; ardent
Example- His novels are impassioned with his own life tragedies.
: extremely silly, stupid, senseless; empty or void; pointless
Example- Allan always acts inane to impress his teachers.
: extremely angry, or greatly enraged
Example- Timothee’s mom was incensed at his son for dropping out.
: unwilling, or unable to accept, or believe something; showing unbelief or doubt.
Example- She was incredulous after knowing that his younger brother got secretly married.
: providing useful information, knowledge, or ideas
Example- The old book which Alex found in the library was highly informative and interesting.
: giving inspiration, hope, or encouragement
Example- His all short stories are truly inspirational and amusing.
: very great, extreme, severe, or strong; having or showing strong emotions or feelings.
Example- He was in intense anger after losing the property to his brother.
: to make timid or fearful, threaten, scare; deliberately make someone frightened to do what you want them to do
Example- He was intimidated into leaving the house for the sake of his family.
: meaning the opposite of what is said, expressed, or their literal meaning; mockery, sarcastic, coincidental, unexpected, or humorous
Example- It’s ironic that he scored his best marks on his toughest paper.
: not showing respect to people or things that are generally respected; disrespectful
Example- The novel takes an irreverent look at the country’s past.
: examining your own thoughts, feelings, and ideas; looking into oneself
Example- Sam is an introvert and introspective thinking man.
Tone Words That Start With ‘J’
: bored, or lacking enthusiasm; not showing interest after experiencing too much of something
Example- Fishing is exciting but if you don’t catch any fish, it soon becomes jaded.
: humorous, joking, comical, funny, amusing; intended to make someone laugh
Example- Meeting her friends, Emma gave a jocular remark about her husband’s new hobby.
: having or showing great pleasure and happiness; pleasing, satisfying, or delighted
Example- Everyone at the party was joyful after watching the host playing his piano.
: too quick to criticize people.
Example- Her father had the habit of being judgmental every time.
Tone Words That Start With ‘L’
: expressing praise or admiration for someone.
Example- Her performance received mostly laudatory comments.
: having acquired much knowledge through study; knowledgeable, scholarly, cultured, or educated
Example- They started a learned discussion about soil erosion.
: amusing and entertaining; free from care, or seriousness; carefree, cheerful, and happy
Example- The latest movie is a lighthearted romantic comedy.
: cheerful, enthusiastic, full of energy, or active
Example- She met some great lively people at the park today.
: noble, superior, high, grand, important, haughty, proud, or arrogant
Example- His lofty ideas of helping the local homeless people was well appreciated by everyone.
: feeling or expressing love; affectionate, adoring, fond, kind, warm, caring, tender
Example- She found her loving life partner on her trip to Ibiza.
Tone Words That Start With ‘M’
: something strange and disturbing because it’s connected with death; ghastly, grim, gruesome, horrifying, or horrible
Example- The author is very popular for his macabre thriller stories.
: intended to harm or upset other people; hurting someone’s feelings or reputation; cause them embarrassment; spiteful, or harmful
Example- He offered no explanation for his malicious intent of hiding his colleague’s project files.
: an intense feeling of sadness often without any obvious reasons and lasting for a long time period; feel, express, or look sad; pensive, depressed, unhappy, or gloomy
Example- The parents weren’t aware of their child’s melancholy until one day they talked to his school teacher.
: cheerful and lively; high-spirited, happy, or festively joyous
Example- It was the month of merry holiday time.
: Someone showcasing that they likely to cause you harm, put you in danger or going to do something bad; expressing a menace or threat
Example- The stranger was giving a menacing look to people sitting nearby him in the train.
: making fun of someone or something in an unkind way; to mimic or imitate; ridicule, or insulting
Example- He was caught mocking his teacher but left with a warning.
: the act of sorrowing or grieving for someone’s death.
Example- She kept mourning for a week, when her pet dog died.
: having or showing a moderate or humble estimate on one’s abilities, worth or achievements
Example- He is a very modest man, who also encourages his colleagues and helps them when needed.
: having abnormal interest in unpleasant and disturbing things, especially death
Example- She had a morbid fascination with novels containing death stories.
Tone Words That Start With ‘N’
: having or showing a lack of experience often because you are young or lacking worldly wisdom
Example- Christine was young and naive when she had started her chocolate shop.
: having or showing too much admiration for oneself; extremely self-centered
Example- His narcissistic nature got changed after his marriage.
: very unpleasant or bad; disgustingly filthy; difficult to deal with; serious, or unkind
Example- He was a genius but nasty man.
: something causing you to think affectionately or fondly of past time, or a past experience
Example- When Guena found her old school diary, she got lost in her nostalgic school days.
Tone Words That Start With ‘O’
: goal, purpose, aim, or intention
Example- The politician’s good objective got changed after winning the elections.
: excessive eagerness to please someone by helping, agreeing, or obeying them
Example- He is embarrassingly obsequious to his boss.
: hopeful about the future, feeling or showing hope that good things will happen in the future
Example- He was very optimistic about his chances of getting selected in NASA.
: extremely angry or furious
Example- Suddenly shutting down the factory outraged the workers.
: giving or expressing strong opinions very openly, directly and frankly, without worrying about offending someone.
Example- The actor’s outspoken criticism of his own movie shocked everyone.
Tone Words That Start With ‘P’
: someone sad, weak or helpless; causing a feeling of pity, sorrow, or sympathy
Example- It was pathetic to see so many people losing their jobs because of recession.
: showing superior attitude towards others
Example- He has a patronizing tone while talking to his employees.
: thinking deeply or seriously, often on a sad subject
Example- He woke up in a pensive mood.
: good at persuading someone to believe or do something; convincing
Example- Her persuasive nature always puts her close ones in trouble.
: tendency to only think that bad things will happen; expecting the worst; hopeless
Example- The leader’s tone was totally pessimistic.
: having or showing a calm attitude towards disappointments or difficulties
Example- John has seen so much in life that now he stays philosophical at all worst situations.
: full of fun, humor, friendly, or cheerful
Example- Babies playful mood can can in an instant.
: dealing with something in a practical way rather than following theoretical approach, fixed ideas, or rules
Example- He took a pragmatic approach to learn the new language.
: trying to appear more clever, significant or important than you really are; exaggerated importance, status or worth
Example- Everyone found his claims rather pretentious.
Tone Words That Start With ‘R’
: feeling or expressing regret; showing that you feel sorry for something
Example- Tom gave a regretful look to his friends after coming too late for the trip.
: feeling angry or expressing bitterness at having treated unequally.
Example- He was very resentful about receiving less appreciation.
: accepting something unpleasant after realizing that you cannot change it.
Example- They all went resigned and depressed at the thought that the company will soon be closed.
: very calm, unemotional, and controlled
Example- His voice remained restrained, even after the plan fails.
: showing great respect and admiration; respectful
Example- Peter received a reverent welcome in the office.
: making you feel less worried; comforting
Example- Her reassuring smile, put him at ease.
: thinking deeply, carefully and quietly; thoughtful
Example- Her poetry needs reflective reading.
: calm, happy and not worried or tense
Example- He talked in a very relaxed tone.
: showing respect for someone
Example- She is always respectful to her teachers.
: morally correct, good or justifiable
Example- He’s been a righteous person throughout his life.
: behaving in an uncontrolled way; reckless, lavish, or outrageous
Example- Tim’s riotous living ruined his relationship.
: idealistic, fanciful, unrealistic, or imaginary
Example- He came up with a romantic idea.
Tone Words That Start With ‘S’
: confidently optimistic; cheerful; assured
Example- Chris is totally sanguine about Emily’s acceptance of his love proposal.
: saying or doing things that clearly mean the opposite of it, in order to mock, criticize humorously something or hurt someone’s feelings
Example- The coach made a sarcastic comment on the other team on the ground.
: criticizing in a severe, harsh and unkind way
Example- Anna left the job as she had got fed up of listening to the scathing remarks of his seniors.
: having or showing dislike and disrespect openly
Example- He always behaves in a scornful way to his family members.
: having or showing too much pity, love, or being too sad that is considered exaggerated and foolish; resulting from feelings or emotions rather than reason or thoughts
Example- He does not need to be so sentimental about her broken old watch.
: foolish, childish, stupid, or ridiculous
Example- She always sounds silly when she talks about her expensive possessions.
: seeming evil or harmful; giving the impression that something evil or harmful will happen or happening; threatening
Example- There was something sinister about his sudden calm voice.
: having doubts, or not easily convincing; doubtful
Example- She was deeply sceptical about her friend’s claims on her boyfriend.
: honest, real, true, or genuine; not lying or pretending
Example- She just asked him for a sincere apology.
: very serious, or sad; dark, dull and gloomy
Example- He gazed at her with a sombre face.
: very serious and without any humor or cheerfulness
Example- His job makes him look solemn.
: not likely to change, move, or end suddenly; fixed, lasting, firm, or secure
Example- She is now at a stable position in her life.
: impressive, grand, dignified, elegant, or majestic
Example- They build a stately statue of the legend.
: easy to understand, or do; simple, exact, direct
Example- He gave us a straightforward solution to the water crisis.
: based on personal beliefs, opinion and feelings rather than facts
Example- He presented a subjective idea to solve the problem.
: obeying someone without arguing; allowing others to control you; passive, meek, or obedient
Example- Some teachers want their students to be submissive.
: silent and bad-tempered after getting annoyed by something
Example- He was sulking over the dinner as his mother had again cooked the broccolis.
: understanding others feelings when they are facing a bad situation; caring, kind, concerned, or understanding
Example- He thought that she likes her, but it turns out she was just sympathetic to him.
Tone Words That Start With ‘T’
: gentle, soft, delicate, loving, or showing care
Example- She always talks in a tender and sweet voice with everyone.
: absorbed in thoughts; mindful; thinking seriously.
Example- Adam always has a thoughtful expression on her face.
: open-minded, understanding, broad-minded; open to accept beliefs and behaviours that are different to oneself.
Example- He needed to be tolerant of the point of view of the other team members.
: calm and peaceful; free from disturbance, noise, violence, worry; serene, or quiet
Example- She could not have picked a better tranquil spot than her scuba diving instructor job.
: extremely sad, mournful, shocking, pathetic, awful, dreadful; often involving death and suffering
Example- The word war 2 is one of the biggest tragic events in human history.
Tone Words That Start With ‘U’
: feeling anxious, worried, troubled; causing physical or mental discomfort
Example- She was uneasy about how to say no to her best friend.
: modest, quiet, humble, meek, or unpretentious
Example- Earlier, he was an unassuming man, but
nowadays he has completely changed.
Tone Words That Start With ‘V’
: full of energy, life, and enthusiasm
Example- She has got a vibrant voice and a great personality.
: disposed to seek revenge; having or showing a strong desire for revenge
Example- A vindictive former student got caught stalking his teacher.
: having or showing good moral qualities and behaviour; morally excellent
Example- He is the most honest and virtuous politician.
Tone Words That Start With ‘W’
: strange, unusual and often funny; unpredictable, playful, fanciful, or sudden change
Example- He narrated to everyone a whimsical incident from his life.
: using words in a clever and amusing way often quickly; clever humor, smartly jocular
Example- He has written a witty novel describing the relationship of a man and women.
: amazement, awe, surprise, curiosity, miracle, admiration
Example- It’s a wonder that the amature team made it to the top of the mountain.
: feeling no excitement or enthusiasm about anything in life, often as a result of a long experience of a particular way of life or living; bored with living, or life and especially material pleasures
Example- Forty years of serving as a police officer had left Alen world-weary and skeptical.
: concerned, anxious, troubled, upset, or at unease
Example- He was very worried about his new book publication.
: someone in an unfortunate condition or situation; miserable, unhappy, distressed, or depressed
Example- The working conditions of his job are always wretched.
Want to learn more about the use of tone words in writing then read this article on MasterClass.