Posted by: episystechpubs | June 4, 2018

Editor’s Corner: 100 Words for Facial Expressions

Although much of our communication is written, we also communicate in person and that can include nonverbal communication (facial expressions, posture, eye contact, body movements, etc.). It’s equally important to control the message you’re conveying without ever saying a word.

This list of descriptive terms for facial expressions is from Daily Writing Tips.

1. Absent: preoccupied
2. Agonized: as if in pain or tormented
3. Alluring: attractive, in the sense of arousing desire
4. Appealing: attractive, in the sense of encouraging goodwill and/or interest
5. Beatific: see blissful
6. Bilious: ill-natured
7. Black: angry or sad, or see hostile
8. Bleak: see grim and hopeless
9. Blinking: surprise, or lack of concern
10. Blissful: showing a state of happiness or divine contentment
11. Blithe: carefree, lighthearted, or heedlessly indifferent
12. Brooding: see anxious and gloomy
13. Bug eyed: frightened or surprised
14. Chagrined: humiliated or disappointed
15. Cheeky: cocky, insolent
16. Cheerless: sad
17. Choleric: hot-tempered, irate
18. Coy: flirtily playful, or evasive
19. Crestfallen: see despondent
20. Darkly: with depressed or malevolent feelings
21. Deadpan: expressionless, to conceal emotion or heighten humor
22. Dejected: see despondent
23. Derisive: see sardonic
24. Despondent: depressed or discouraged
25. Doleful: sad or afflicted
26. Dour: stern or obstinate; see also despondent
27. Downcast: see despondent
28. Dreamy: distracted by daydreaming or fantasizing
29. Ecstatic: delighted or entranced
30. Etched: see fixed
31. Faint: cowardly, weak, or barely perceptible
32. Fixed: concentrated or immobile
33. Furtive: stealthy
34. Gazing: staring intently
35. Glancing: staring briefly as if curious but evasive
36. Glaring: see hostile
37. Glazed: expressionless due to fatigue or confusion
38. Gloomy: see despondent and sullen
39. Glowering: annoyed or angry
40. Glowing: see radiant
41. Grim: see despondent; also, fatalistic or pessimistic
42. Grave: serious, expressing emotion due to loss or sadness
43. Haunted: frightened, worried, or guilty
44. Hopeless: depressed by a lack of encouragement or optimism
45. Hostile: aggressively angry, intimidating, or resistant
46. Hunted: tense as if worried about pursuit
47. Impassive: see deadpan
48. Inscrutable: mysterious, unreadable
49. Jeering: insulting or mocking
50. Languid: lazy or weak
51. Leering: see meaningful; also, sexually suggestive
52. Meaningful: to convey an implicit connotation or shared secret
53. Mild: easygoing
54. Mischievous: annoyingly or maliciously playful
55. Moody: see sullen
56. Pained: affected with discomfort or pain
57. Pallid: see wan
58. Peering: with curiosity or suspicion
59. Peeved: annoyed
60. Petulant: see cheeky and peeved
61. Pitying: sympathetic
62. Pleading: seeking apology or assistance
63. Pouting: see sullen
64. Quizzical: questioning or confused
65. Radiant: bright, happy
66. Roguish: see mischievous
67. Sanguine: bloodthirsty, confident
68. Sardonic: mocking
69. Scornful: contemptuous or mocking
70. Scowling: displeased or threatening
71. Searching: curious or suspicious
72. Set: see fixed
73. Shamefaced: ashamed or bashful
74. Slack-jawed: dumbfounded or surprised
75. Sly: cunning; see also furtive and mischievous
76. Snarling: surly
77. Sneering: see scornful
78. Somber: see grave
79. Sour: unpleasant
80. Stolid: inexpressive
81. Straight-faced: see deadpan
82. Sulky: see sullen
83. Sullen: resentful
84. Taunting: see jeering
85. Taut: high-strung
86. Tense: see taut
87. Tight: see pained and taut
88. Unblinking: see fixed
89. Vacant: blank or stupid looking
90. Veiled: see inscrutable
91. Wan: pale, sickly; see also faint
92. Wary: cautious or cunning
93. Wide eyed: frightened or surprised
94. Wild eyed: excited, frightened, or stressful
95. Wistful: yearning or sadly thoughtful
96. Withering: devastating; see also wrathful
97. Woeful: full of grief or lamentation
98. Wolfish: see leering and mischievous
99. Wrathful: indignant or vengeful
100. Wry: twisted or crooked to express cleverness or a dark or ironic feeling

Jackie Solano | Technical Editor | Symitar®

8985 Balboa Ave. | San Diego, CA 92123 | Ph. 619.542.6711 | Extension: 766711

Symitar Documentation Services


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