Given the individual natures of human beings, it's no wonder the English language includes so many personality adjectives. You might not notice it, but people use adjectives to describe each other more than they describe anything else. Personality is arguably the most important thing about a person, and there are some incredibly fun words available to describe it.
Here are some of the most entertainingly interesting examples of personality adjectives to help you better describe the people you know.
Positive Personality Adjectives
It's great to expand your vocabulary to more accurately or creatively describe the people you love most. This selection of positive personality adjectives will get you off to a great start:
- Affable: To describe someone's friendly, gentle nature, you can call him affable. It means your friend is kind and approachable.
Example: Even when Joe's in a rush to work, he stays affable, never raising his voice and being courteous to others on the subway.
- Amiable: Literally meaning loveable, amiable is a wonderful way to describe a friend or nice person.
Example: Mary, the amiable lady that she is, always pets stray cats and says hello to everyone she sees in town.
- Amicable: Friendly or good-willed people are called amicable. All of your friends could be described by this personality adjective. If they can't, maybe they shouldn't be your friend!
Example: Sam is always smiling and complimenting folks, what an amicable fellow!
- Convivial: Everyone knows someone who is so full of life that he fills others with zest. Convivial means "with life," so it makes sense that friendly people are called convivial. They make you happy to be alive.
Example: Al's Halloween parties are always the best because his convivial personality puts everyone in a festive spirit.
- Effulgent: Radiant, splendid, expressing vitality or joy — what an amazing word effulgent is! Describing someone this way is sure to convey a lot of love.
Example: Sarah's face was effulgent after John's romantic proposal at the beach. It was a wonderful sight to see.
- Gregarious: A gregarious person, like our amiable friend Mary, is a social butterfly who enjoys speaking with people and finds herself energized around large groups of people.
Example: I wish I were as gregarious as Mary is; she ends up talking with everyone at the party.
- Placid: Calm, quiet, and peaceful, that's a placid person and they're a great antidote to all the excitement you get with your more zany friends.
Example: Amy is so placid. She is a great person to go to in a crisis as nothing ever ruffles her.
Negative Personality Adjectives
Sometimes describing your enemies with intelligence and wit is difficult. The times that negative feelings demand description aren't usually conducive to accurate use of vocabulary. Keep these few personality adjectives in mind the next time you have to appear calm and collected when dealing with a difficult person. You might get the upper linguistic hand.
- Abecedarian: It might not always be grounds for enemy making, but calling someone abecedarian is certainly useful. Someone who is abecedarian is elementary, a beginner. Temporarily, everyone can be described as abecedarian, say, in a new job, but not perpetually. Literally, it means someone who is learning the A, B, C's.
Example: Susan is unfit to lead; though charming, she's inexperienced and abecedarian.
- Machiavellian: Machiavelli was a Florentine renaissance writer who penned The Prince, a book that detailed the most underhanded, scheming way to rule a country. The book outlined the worst characteristics of humanity and suggested that behaving in such a way was the only effective form of leadership. The English language adopted Niccólo Machiavelli's name as the word describing all that is deplorable in a personality.
Example: Carl lies, slanders, cheats, and steals; his "playbook" might be the most Machiavellian thing the world has ever known.
- Nonchalant: Someone who is nonchalant is unconcerned or too cool to care. Describing someone as nonchalant is saying that he lacks all the warmth and enthusiasm normally attributed to a member of the human race.
Example: John doesn't even know how many homes he has; no wonder he's nonchalant about poverty!
- Obtuse: Obtuse people are those who are dull, insensitive, or just bored with life. They bore you because they themselves are so bored. They can be annoyingly slow to understand even the simplest of ideas.
Example: Chad writes poetry that puts you to sleep; his obtuse view of life tires even the most ardent lovers of verse.
- Parsimonious: People who are stingy of every petty thing, who horde and refuse to share despite being in a position to do so are parsimonious. In Dickens's A Christmas Carol mean ol' Scrooge pinches every penny. That component of his personality, more than any other, has demonized him for generations of readers.
Example: John just bought a Bentley but refused to loan me a dollar, parsimonious jerk!
- Pusillanimous: Someone who is pusillanimous lacks courage. It's much stronger than timid because it means weak spirit or mind. Latin suggests here that the weaker the mind, the more fearful a person is.
Example: In a pusillanimous move, the judge pardoned a criminal for fear of what he might do if left in prison.
- Truculent: A truculent person is a worthy adversary because he is fierce, ferocious, and cruel. You could just say cruel, but that would be obtuse and betray a lack of good words. The only thing worse than truculence is a lack of good words, well, that and being pusillanimous.
Example: I cannot work with Richard, he is so truculent, he just cussed at a colleague in front of a hundred other coworkers.
As you can see from these examples of personality adjectives, it's a lot of fun describing people with interesting, new words, whether it's positive or negative. The joy of language is that it allows people to describe their surroundings, and those within them, creatively. The ammunition a large vocabulary affords the speaker is the ability to describe personalities more accurately and pointedly, which fuels creativity, too. So, the next time someone is nice or mean, you now have the adjectives available to praise them or put them in their place with aplomb.
Let us know if you find any other entertaining personality adjectives.
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"Examples of Personality Adjectives." YourDictionary, n.d. Web. 21 September 2018. <http://grammar.yourdictionary.com/parts-of-speech/adjectives/Personality-Adjectives.html>.
Examples of Personality Adjectives. (n.d.). Retrieved September 21st, 2018, from http://grammar.yourdictionary.com/parts-of-speech/adjectives/Personality-Adjectives.html