Say it better – letters S-Z

This page contains words that begin with “S” to words that begin with “Z”. The list is part of a project entitled, Say it better.


salacious – adj. having or conveying undue or indecent interest in sexual matters

sardonic – adj. grimly mocking or cynical

scoff – v. speak to someone or about something in a scornfully derisive or mocking way

scurrilous – adj. making or spreading scandalous claims about someone with the intention of damaging their reputation; humorously insulting

sepulcher – n. a burial vault; a receptacle for sacred relics, especially in an altar

shambolic – adj. chaotic, disorganized, mismanaged

slovenly – adj. (especially of a person or their appearance) messy and dirty; (especially of a person or action) careless; excessively casual

spurious – adj. not being what it purports to be; false or fake; (of a line of reasoning) apparently but not actually valid

staid – adj. sedate, respectable, and unadventurous

stellar – adj. relating to a star or stars; (informal) featuring or having the quality of a star performer or performers

stilted – adj. (of a manner of talking or writing) stiff and self-conscious or unnatural

stolid – adj. calm, dependable, and showing little emotion or animation

strident – adj. loud and harsh; grating; presenting a point of view, especially a controversial one, in an excessively forceful way

supine – adj. (of a person) lying face upwards; failing to act or protest as a result of moral weakness or indolence

surmise – v. suppose that something is true without having evidence to confirm it

svelte – adj. (of a person) slender and elegant

sycophant – n. a person who acts obsequiously towards someone important in order to gain advantage

tacit – adj. understood or implied without being stated

taciturn – adj. (of a person) reserved or uncommunicative in speech; saying little

tawdry – adj. showy but cheap and of poor quality

tempestuous – adj. characterized by strong and turbulent or conflicting emotion; very stormy

tenacity/tenacious – n. 1. the quality or fact of being very determined; determination 2. the quality or fact of continuing to exist; persistence | adj. 1. tending to keep a firm hold of something; clinging or adhering closely 2. not readily relinquishing a position, principle, or course of action; determined 3. persisting in existence; not easily dispelled

tendentious – adj. expressing or intending to promote a particular cause or point of view, especially a controversial one

terse – adj. sparing in the use of words; abrupt

torpor – n. state of physical or mental inactivity; lethargy

translucent – adj. (of a substance) allowing light, but not detailed shapes, to pass through; semi-transparent

truculent – adj. eager or quick to argue or fight; aggressively defiant

unctuous – adj. excessively flattering or ingratiating; oily

unremitting – adj. never relaxing or slackening; incessant

vicissitude – n. a change of circumstances or fortune, typically one that is unwelcome or unpleasant

visceral – adj. relating to deep inward feelings rather than to the intellect

vitriol – n. cruel and bitter criticism

vociferous – adj. expressing or characterized by vehement opinions

voluble – adj. (of a person) talking fluently, readily, or incessantly

wanton – adj. (of a cruel or violent action) deliberate and unprovoked

wistful – adj. having or showing a feeling of vague or regretful longing

zenith – n. the time at which something is most powerful or successful


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