Examples of Strong Sensory Words for Stellar Writing

Writing with vivid sensory language can make average writing extraordinary. But in order to fill out a descriptive paragraph, you need great options to describe each sense. Read on for examples of strong sensory words that can enhance your writing.

girl smelling fresh-cut grassgirl smelling fresh-cut grass

Examples of Sensory Words

Sensory language allows a reader to feel like they are right there in a scene. The smell of grass, for example, is less effective than a sentence that includes the earthy smell of fresh-cut grass. Keep reading for lists of words that heighten all five senses: sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell.

Sensory Words for Sight

Get past ugly and beautiful when describing what a character sees. If you need more choices for sensory language that describes the appearance of things, there are lots of wonderful words in the English language. For example:

sight sensory word billowy clouds descriptionsight sensory word billowy clouds description

Beautiful Sight Words

Unattractive Sight Words

billowy

blushing

bright

crystalline

dazzling

elegant

enchanting

glamorous

gleaming

glistening

glittering

glowing

gorgeous

illuminated

lustrous

opaque

pristine

radiant

resplendent

sparkling

shimmering

shiny

twinkling

vibrant

vivid

bloated

blurry

bulbous

bulky

craggy

crooked

dingy

disheveled

drab

dreary

dull

faded

filthy

flashy

gaudy

globular

gloomy

grotesque

hazy

homely

misshapen

scummy

shapeless

unsightly

wrinkled

Many of these words depend on the item you are describing. Words like filthy and misshapen are excellent ways to describe both an unlikeable person and a lumpy couch. However, while words like flashy and gaudy have negative connotations, they might not present the same undesirable picture.

Sensory Words for Hearing

Finding the right sensory word to describe a sound can be tricky. It depends on whether the sound is quiet or loud and how the reader should react upon “hearing” it. Check out these words, grouped by volume, that work as strong descriptors for your literary noises.

hearing sensory word wolves howling descriptionhearing sensory word wolves howling description

Quiet Hearing Words

Loud Hearing Words

buzzing

chirping

clicking

clinking

cooing

crackling

creaking

croaking

grumbling

grunting

gurgling

hissing

peeping

rumbling

rustling

sizzling

snarling

swishing

ticking

tinkling

thumping

wheezing

whimpering

whining

whispering

barking

bawling

bellowing

blaring

booming

cackling

chattering

cheering

chiming

clanging

honking

howling

jabbering

ranting

raving

roaring

screaming

screeching

shouting

shrieking

slamming

snoring

squawking

squealing

yelping

Determining whether these hearing words are positive or negative depends on the story context. Whispering sweet nothings to each other might set a romantic tone, but hearing a whispering voice through your walls sets the tone for a horror story.

Sensory Words for Touch

Would you rather sleep on a fluffy, fleecy pillow or an abrasive, scratchy one? Choosing the right touch sensory words can make a reader feel very comfortable – or, if you’d rather, very uncomfortable. Try swapping out boring words for these descriptors:

touch sensory word fluffy pillow descriptiontouch sensory word fluffy pillow description

Pleasant Touch Words

Unpleasant Touch Words

bubbly

chilled

cool

cottony

creamy

cushioned

feathery

fine

fleecy

fluffy

foamy

furry

fuzzy

gossamer

lacy

luxurious

satiny

silky

smooth

soft

summery

tickling

velvety

warm

woolly

abrasive

balmy

bristly

bumpy

chilly

clammy

coarse

crawly

creepy

gooey

greasy

gritty

humid

itchy

lumpy

moist

mushy

prickly

scratchy

slimy

slippery

spongy

sticky

sweaty

tepid

Watch out for the word moist on this list. It may be the perfect word to describe a kitchen sponge or a mist-covered umbrella, but many readers have a strong aversion to the word. It’s best used in unpleasant situations!

Sensory Words for Smell and Taste

Smell and taste are separate senses. However, you’ll often find that adjectives that work with taste can also describe a smell. Use these sensory words to describe a flavorful, aromatic meal or a sharp, pungent smell.

scent sensory word fragrant herbs description  scent sensory word fragrant herbs description

Delicious Taste Words

Disgusting Taste Words

ambrosial

aromatic

buttery

delectable

downy

flavorful

fragrant

fresh

fruity

gingery

hearty

minty

peppery

refreshing

ripe

savory

scented

spicy

sugary

sweet

tangy

tantalizing

tasty

tempting

zesty

acidic

acrid

bitter

bland

briny

burnt

fetid

flavorless

grainy

medicinal

metallic

moldy

musty

nauseating

pungent

putrid

rancid

rank

rotten

sharp

sour

spoiled

stale

tasteless

vinegary

Like everything in life, word choice depends on your taste. A gingery smell coming from the neighbor’s apartment might remind one character of their mother’s cooking. However, a ginger-averse roommate might prefer a spicy or fruity aroma instead.

Imagery In Literature

Now that you’ve read through these sensory words, you may notice the vivid descriptions in the next book you read. But defining imagery is not as simple as it seems! Read an article about the five different types of imagery that you’re likely to find in literature.

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