The New SAT: Words to Capture Tone – List #8 – 25 Words


without or almost without hope

Tiger’s despondent press conferences will persist, and the press will hang on his words to see if there’s even a glimmer of hope.Golf Digest (Oct 16, 2013)

instructive, especially excessively

The Newsroom is a didactic show, by which I mean, when it presents an argument, it hints pretty clearly which side it believes is right.Time (Dec 7, 2014)

in a state of sulky dissatisfaction

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau released thousands of complaints Thursday from disgruntled customers of banks, credit card companies and other providers of financial services.Los Angeles Times (Jun 25, 2015)

uttered with unrestrained enthusiasm

It’s being called both a “comedy smash” and “really funny,” among other effusive compliments.Salon (Jul 20, 2015)

cleverly amusing in tone

“We have a very facetious Liverpool sense of humour, laughing at things which are stupid,” says Wells.The Guardian (Jul 21, 2012)

temperamentally seeking and enjoying the company of others

Aren’t entrepreneurs supposed to be gregarious and commanding—verbally adept and able to inspire employees, clients and investors with the sheer force of their personality?Wall Street Journal (Aug 24, 2015)

full of or giving praise

And yes, as we’ve read in laudatory profiles and seen in TV spots, the rookie is smart, studious, humble, and looks fantastic in denim.Slate (Oct 16, 2012)

liable to sudden unpredictable change

But though his aesthetic has been mercurial, his theme has arguably stayed the same.New York Times (Feb 4, 2015)


Perhaps it is because patients fear the quizzical look and follow-up question: “You’re eating what?”Washington Post (May 14, 2012)

demonstrating ability to recognize or draw fine distinctions

But anyone who relishes elegant and incisive writing and speech will be glad that Vidal was fated to explain, rather than practise, politics.The Guardian (Aug 1, 2012)

marked by active interest and enthusiasm

A zealous prosecutor, Elizabeth Scheibel, went on a crusade, bringing criminal charges against six teenagers that held them directly responsible for causing…death.Slate (Apr 10, 2014)

characterized by intense emotion

Mr. Elwes said it has attained such a large and fervent following thanks largely to pre-Internet word-of-mouth raves and home video rentals.Washington Times (Jun 21, 2015)

strong and sharp, as a taste or smell

But that was no moment for futile recrimination, and self-interest served to stay the acrid retort on the tip of his tongue. Hudson Douglas

characterized by anger

He returned more choleric than before, calling those he met rebels and traitors, in his mad fury.Samuel Adams Drake

having a bad disposition; surly

Of course, it’s churlish to speak sourly of a guiltless, newborn child.Time (Jul 24, 2013)

showing modest reserve

His manner is diffident and reserved, but the music-making is intense, full of character and rendered on the highest technical level.
— Washington Post (Mar 30, 2015)

devoid of intelligence

“This is a fatuous show with nothing fresh to say about popular culture and our fixation with fame,” his one-star write-up continued.BBC (Dec 12, 2012)

characteristic of acting or a stage performance

The mildness of Dellavedova’s provocations only makes the histrionic local reaction to them – the impassioned denunciations, the drippingly earnest think pieces – all the more hilarious.The Guardian (Jun 1, 2015)

lacking interest or significance or impact

But in their translation into the bald language of reality—the jejune prose of fact—our dreams have a way of losing their finer essence.Rhoda Broughton

characterized by or causing or expressing sadness

As a child she was a shy, melancholic loner riddled with very early-onset teenage angst.The Guardian (Aug 2, 2014)

harshly ironic or sinister

The amiable Brian takes refuge in mordant humor: “Bad luck. Good luck. It’s all chance,” he says, then adding darkly, “Rotten sort of lottery, life.”New York Times (May 1, 2015)

bitter or scornful

He was, in short, what is called a deep designing villain, and the saturnine and sinister expression of his countenance at once proclaimed this.Various

having or showing arrogant disdain or haughtiness

Except for their accents, these people are identical to a certain class of spoiled, supercilious New Yorkers who exude a smug sense of entitlement.New York Times (Jun 26, 2014)

unpleasantly and excessively suave or ingratiating

When singing about searing indignities, that unctuous and unbothered voice of his makes it sound as if he’s just buttering up his adversary.New York Times (Jun 13, 2011)

vigorous and animated

“Patients today are unyielding in their desire to continue to be active and maintain a physically vivacious life,” Grossman said.US News (Sep 2, 2015)

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