StyleBlueprint’s Grammar Guru has shared ten adjectives and ten nouns she is obsessed with, and today she’s back with the final episode of this three-part series. Here are ten impressive, useful VERBS to add to your conversation, work correspondence, and online interactions.
MEANING: persuade someone to do something by sustained coaxing or flattery
EXAMPLE: My husband cajoled me into coming to his work event when he mentioned the four-course meal and live music.
SIMILAR WORD: coax
MEANING: drink plentiful amounts of alcohol and enjoy oneself in a communal, noisy, lively way; engage in drunken revelry; engage in boisterous merrymaking
EXAMPLE: Carousing with my long-distance friends in town was worth the slight hangover.
SIMILAR WORDS: party, revel, binge, roister
MEANING: make secret or private information known
Sometimes I use divulge in a similar way to babble, but most of the time, it implies a more careful imparting of knowledge to a small group of trusted people.
EXAMPLE: After one glass of wine, my grandmother starts divulging family secrets.
SIMILAR WORDS: reveal, disclose, impart
MEANING: catch or get control of something or someone in an unpleasant way; make something or someone unable to escape
If you’re ensnared in something, it’s never good. You’re trapped physically (like in traffic) or emotionally (like in a relationship).
EXAMPLE: Salespeople ensnare vacation-goers into suffocating timeshare contracts.
SIMILAR WORDS: catch, capture, trap, entrap
MEANING: make an already unpleasant situation or feeling worse; make more violent, bitter, or severe
EXAMPLE: Once the kids were caught cheating on a quiz, lying about the details only exacerbated their punishment.
SIMILAR WORDS: irritate, aggravate, exasperate, embitter
MEANING: to wander or search widely for food or provisions; to collect or look around for something (usually a specific something).
This can be a noun (meaning fodder for animals), but I love the verb form. It’s gained popularity alongside the activity of mushroom foraging.
EXAMPLE: Truffle foraging relies mainly on well-trained dogs to dig them up.
SIMILAR WORDS: scrounge, comb, hunt, search
MEANING: to stimulate or excite as if by an electric shock;
This fabulous verb means to cause someone (or a group of people) to become so excited by or concerned about something that they spring into action and want to do something about it.
EXAMPLE: The sold-out benefit concert galvanized support around the cause.
SIMILAR WORDS: excite, stir, jolt, shock, impel
MEANING: use dramatic, sweeping gestures instead of speaking or to emphasize one’s words
Someone who gesticulates talks with their hands. They’re expressive in an excited, eager, or (sometimes) manic way.
EXAMPLE: The coach gesticulated wildly at the referee after an iffy call.
SIMILAR WORDS: gesture, wave, motion
MEANING: suggest or assume the existence, fact, or truth of something as a basis for reasoning, discussion, or belief; to assume or claim as true, existent, or necessary
Though this word is typically used in formal, academic settings, use it in daily life to sound smart!
EXAMPLE: He postulated that going out to dinner is the best way to not dirty our just-cleaned kitchen.
SIMILAR WORDS: suggest, posit, hypothesize, assume, presume
MEANING: waver in mind, will, or feeling; hesitate in choice of opinions or courses
Physically, this can mean to sway, oscillate, or move unsteadily, but I love it in a decision-making context. You’re vacillating if you’re taking time to weigh some worthy options. It can connote indecision, but it’s smarter indecision than just being wishy-washy about something.
EXAMPLE: I vacillated between the two job offers for a week before deciding.
SIMILAR WORDS: waver, hesitate
These explanations were sourced from Grammarly, Oxford Language, Merriam-Webster, and my own understanding. If you have some favorite words to share or a grammar topic you’d like me to cover this year, email me at [email protected]. Revisit my other installments HERE.
Want more grammar tips? Check out all of StyleBlueprint’s Grammar Guru articles here.