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317 Power Words That’ll Instantly Make You a Better Writer

317 Power Words That’ll Instantly Make You a Better Writer

Ever noticed how some writers have an uncanny ability to toy with your emotions?

Within the span of a few pages, you can go from shaking with excitement to bawling your eyes out to flying into a rage and throwing the book across the room. It’s the hallmark of great writing, proof of mastery of the craft, and the yardstick by which aspiring writers measure their work.

And it goes beyond storytelling.

Sure, taking the reader on an emotional roller coaster ride is essential in novels and short stories, but what about emails, resumes, blog posts, proposals? They’re all designed to influence the reader in some way. You want to pass along information, yes, but you also want the reader to feel a certain way about that information.

Maybe you want to impress them, get them excited, make them cautious, get them angry, encourage them to keep going, or any number of emotions. The better a job you do at making them feel, the more influential you are, and the better your chances of getting what you want.

So, you might wonder… how?

The world is full of people who can scribble down their ideas, but to bring those ideas to life, to make them take up residence in the mind of the reader, lurking in the background, tugging, pulling, and cajoling their emotions until they think and feel exactly as you want? That’s a rare skill indeed.

The good news is it can be yours. There’s even a shortcut.

How to Instantly Become a Better Writer

It’s simple:

Use power words.

Rather than describe what I mean, let’s deconstruct an example from the great Winston Churchill:

We have before us an ordeal of the most grievous kind. We have before us many, many long months of struggle and of suffering. You ask, what is our policy? I can say: It is to wage war, by sea, land and air, with all our might and with all the strength that God can give us; to wage war against a monstrous tyranny, never surpassed in the dark, lamentable catalogue of human crime. That is our policy. You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word: It is victory, victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory, however long and hard the road may be; for without victory, there is no survival.

Inspiring, right?

Well, there was a lot on the line. Under attack from Germany, Britain was fighting for its survival, and somehow, someway, Churchill had to find a way to inspire his countrymen to greatness.

He chose words. Or, to be more accurate, power words.

Let’s take a look at the passage again, this time with all the power words underlined:

We have before us an ordeal of the most grievous kind. We have before us many, many long months of struggle and of suffering. You ask, what is our policy? I can say: It is to wage war, by sea, land and air, with all our might and with all the strength that God can give us; to wage war against a monstrous tyranny, never surpassed in the dark, lamentable catalogue of human crime. That is our policy. You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word: It is victory, victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory, however long and hard the road may be; for without victory, there is no survival.

Each underlined word makes the audience feel something. In this case, Churchill intermixes words that cause fear, such as “struggle,” “tyranny,” and “terror,” with words that cause hope, such as “strength,” “God,” and “victory.” The last, in particular, is repeated over and over, practically drilling the emotion into the minds of the audience.

It’s no accident. Smart speakers, as well as their speechwriters, sprinkle their speeches with carefully-chosen power words, drawing the audience from one emotion to another as skillfully as any novelist or screenwriter.

Granted, that’s not all they do. The best writers use an entire tool chest of techniques to create emotion, and power words are only one such tool.

But there’s good news.

For beginning writers, power words are one of the easiest tools to master. Unlike many storytelling strategies which can take years of practice to master, you can start sprinkling power words into your writing, and you’ll notice an immediate lift in the quality of your prose.

All you lack is a list of power words to use, but of course, I have you covered there too. :-)

317 Power Words to Start Using Immediately

For years now, every time I mentioned power words to my students, someone always asked:

“Where can I get a list? Is there a book I can buy?”

Sadly, not that I’m aware of.  That’s why I created this list.

Slowly, over a period of several weeks, I catalogued all the power words that jumped out to me, organizing them into categories based on the emotion you want to create, so you can easily find the right word. In the future, I’ll also update the list, adding new words on a regular basis to make it the most comprehensive list of power words available anywhere.

It costs nothing. All I ask in return is you share it with your friends and readers when appropriate, helping it reach the people who need it most.

Enjoy.

Want a handy PDF containing all 317 Power Words (plus 50 exclusive bonus words) to download and keep? Get it Here.

Calling All Fearmongers

Let’s do a little experiment.

Just for a moment, stop reading this post, turn on the television, and go to a major news channel. Watch it for five minutes, listening for the words below.

Chances are, you’ll hear dozens of them. Here’s why:

Fear is without a doubt the most powerful emotion for grabbing and keeping an audience’s attention. To make sure you don’t change the channel, news networks load up with fear words, making you worry you might miss something important.

It’s effective. Granted, you can overdo it, but in my opinion, most writers don’t use these types of words nearly enough. They really do connect with people.

Here’s a bunch to get you started:

Agony

Apocalypse

Armageddon

Assault

Backlash

Beating

Beware

Blinded

Blood

Bloodbath

Bloodcurdling

Bloody

Bomb

Buffoon

Bumbling

Cadaver

Catastrophe

Caution

Collapse

Corpse

Crazy

Cripple

Crisis

Danger

Deadly

Death

Destroy

Devastating

Disastrous

Drowning

Dumb

Embarrass

Fail

Feeble

Fired

Fool
Fooled

Frantic

Frightening

Gambling

Gullible

Hack

Hazardous

Hoax

Holocaust

Horrific

Hurricane

Insidious

Invasion

IRS

Jail

Jeopardy

Lawsuit

Looming

Lunatic

Lurking

Meltdown

Mired

Mistake

Murder

Nightmare

Painful

Pale

Panic

Peril

Piranha

Pitfall

Plague

Played

Plummet

Plunge

Poison
Pummel

Poor

Prison

Pus

Reckoning

Refugee

Revenge

Risky

Scary

Scream

Searing

Shatter

Shellacking

Silly

Slaughter

Slave

Smash

Strangle

Stupid

Suck

Tailspin

Tank

Targeted

Teetering

Terror

Terrorist

Toxic

Trap

Vaporize

Victim

Volatile

Vulnerable

Warning

Worry

Wounded

Give Your Readers a Pep Talk

Let’s face it.

When they’re reading, most people aren’t exactly bouncing off the walls with energy and enthusiasm. They’re probably bored, maybe a little depressed, and almost definitely tired. And they’re looking for something, anything, that’ll wake them up and make them feel better.

The good news?

Your writing can do that for them. Use these power words to give them a pep talk and get them charged up again:

Amazing

Audacity

Backbone

Belief

Blissful

Bravery

Breathtaking

Cheer

Conquer

Courage

Daring

Defiance

Delight

Devoted

Excited
Eye-opening

Faith

Fearless

Fulfill

Grateful

Grit

Guts

Happy

Heart

Hero

Hope

Jaw-dropping

Jubilant

Magic

Mind-blowing
Miracle

Pluck

Sensational

Spectacular

Spine

Spirit

Staggering

Stunning

Surprising

Triumph

Uplifting

Valor

Victory

Wonderful

Wondrous

Take a Page from Cosmopolitan (or Playboy)

Like it or not, lust is one of the core human emotions.

Just look at the men’s and women’s magazines in the checkout aisle, and you’ll see what I mean. Nearly every headline on the cover is either blatantly or indirectly about sex.

And it works, not just for men’s and women’s magazines, but for anything. As a writer, you can use words that inspire lust to make almost anything intriguing.

For example: take a look at these two posts I wrote for Copyblogger:

Sex, Lies, and the Art of Commanding Attention

Copyblogger Editor Admits to Sleeping with Readers and Recommends You Do the Same

Both posts use the power of lust to teach people about headlines, of all things. Proof positive that it can be used for anything.

Here’s a lascivious list to get you started:

Brazen

Crave

Depraved

Dirty

Exposed

Forbidden

Hypnotic

Lascivious

Lick

Lonely
Lust

Naked

Naughty

Provocative

Scandalous

Sensual

Sex

Shameless

Sinful

Sleazy
Sleeping

Spank

Steamy

Sweaty

Tantalizing

Tawdry

Thrilling

Uncensored

Wanton

Whip

Start a Riot

As writers, sometimes our job is to anger people.

Not for the fun of it, mind you, but because someone is doing something wrong, and the community needs to take action to correct it. The problem is, with wrongdoing, most people are pretty apathetic – they’ll wait until the situation becomes entirely intolerable to do anything, and by then, it’s often too late.

So, we have to fan the flames. By using the below power words, you can connect with people’s anger, and slowly but surely, you can work them into a frenzy. Just be careful who you target. Lawyers can eat you alive if you pick on the wrong person. :-)

Abuse

Arrogant

Ass kicking

Backstabbing

Beat down

Bullshit

Bully

Coward

Crooked

Crush

Disgusting

Evil

Force-fed
Foul

Hate

Know it all

Lies

Loathsome

Loser

Lying

Maul

Money-grubbing

Nazi

No Good

Obnoxious

Payback
Pound

Preposterous

Punish

Revolting

Ruthless

Sick and Tired

Smug

Sniveling

Snob

Snooty

Snotty

Stuck up

Underhanded

Stomp on Their Greed Glands

The legendary copywriter Gary Halbert once said, “If you want people to buy something, stomp on their greed glands until they bleed.” Graphic, yes, but also true.

Skim through good sales copy, and you’ll find a lot of these power words. Many of them are so overused they’ve become cliché, but that doesn’t stop them from working.

The truth is, nearly every human being on the planet is interested in either making or saving money. Use these words to tap into those desires:

Bargain

Best

Billion

Bonanza

Cash

Cheap

Discount

Dollar

Double

Explode

Extra

Feast

Fortune

Free
Freebie

Frenzy

Frugal

Gift

Greatest

Inexpensive

Jackpot

Luxurious

Marked down

Massive

Money

Nest egg

Pay zero

Prize
Profit

Quadruple

Reduced

Rich

Savings

Six-figure

Skyrocket

Soaring

Surge

Treasure

Triple

Whopping

Make Them Feel Safe

Greed isn’t the only emotion you want buyers to feel. You also want to make them feel safe.

They need to trust both you and your product or service. They need to have confidence you’ll deliver. They need to believe they’ll get results.

Of course, building that kind of trust starts with having a quality brand and reputation, but the words you use to describe yourself and your product or service also matter. To help your customers feel safe, try to use as many of these power words as possible:

Anonymous

Authentic

Backed

Best-selling

Cancel Anytime

Certified

Endorsed

Guaranteed

Ironclad

Lifetime
Moneyback

No Obligation

No Questions Asked

No Risk

No Strings Attached

Official

Privacy

Protected

Proven

Recession-proof
Refund

Research

Results

Secure

Tested

Try before You Buy

Verify

Unconditional

Offer Them a Forbidden Fruit

Remember when you were a kid, and someone told you NOT to do something? From that point on, you could think about little else, right?

The truth is, we’re all fascinated by the mysterious and forbidden. It’s like it’s programmed into our very nature.

So why not tap into that programming?

Whenever you need to create curiosity, sprinkle these power words throughout your writing, and readers won’t be able to help being intrigued:

Backdoor

Banned

Behind the Scenes

Black Market

Blacklisted

Bootleg

Censored

Concealed

Confessions
Confidential

Controversial

Covert

Cover-up

Forbidden

Forgotten

Hidden

Illegal

Insider
Lost

Off-limits

Outlawed

Private

Secrets

Smuggled

Strange

Unauthorized

Withheld

Want a handy PDF containing all 317 Power Words (plus 50 exclusive bonus words) to download and keep? Get it Here.

Go Ahead and Tell Me. What Words Did I Miss?

Yes, this is an enormous list, but so many power words are available, nobody can possibly catch them all on the first pass. What are some other words that seem to have that extra little spark of emotion inside them?

Leave your answer in the comments, and as time goes by, I’ll come back periodically and update the list. Eventually, I hope to have over 1,000 words here, separated and organized by category, making this the definitive resource for power words on the web.

Thanks in advance for commenting and sharing the post with your friends!

About the Author: Jon Morrow has asked repeatedly to be called “His Royal Awesomeness” but no one listens to him. So, he settles for CEO of Boost Blog Traffic, LLC. Poor man. :-)

317 Power Words That'll Instantly Make You a Better Writer by

203 Comments

  1. Jules Bronte
    Jul 23, 2013 @ 09:05:20

    Excellent as always! Thanks so much Jon for this great insight.

    • Esther
      Jul 23, 2013 @ 09:38:36

      Love this post too. : ) Each post is detailed and, like you said, excellent.

      • Maurice Bernier
        Oct 09, 2013 @ 10:27:18

        Jules and Esther, I started putting some of these words into practice and I’m already receiving results through more traffic when I share a new post on my blog. I simply use them in Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin shares which is something you might want to try even if it’s just for practice.

        Thanks again for sharing these with us Jon and while I’m here, thanks for the great webinar yesterday. I took a lot of notes from it! :)

    • Emma
      Sep 12, 2014 @ 18:31:14

      Yup another post that makes your stomach churns and your mind inspired and enriched… Thank you your awesomeness…

  2. Doug Williams
    Jul 23, 2013 @ 09:06:41

    I have to say, I find that most self-help postings are statements of the glaringly obvious at best, and utter nonsense at worst. But this is really, really good.

  3. Julie
    Jul 23, 2013 @ 09:08:53

    Thanks for the list, Jon. It definitely gives me some food for thought… but I will tell you that after glancing through the list, it seems like a lot of the words are negative.

    I’m curious if anyone else noticed that, or if my scanning just grabbed the negative ones. I read someone that our brains latch onto and hold onto the negative more than the positive so maybe that’s why?

    • Darlene at BlogBoldly
      Jul 23, 2013 @ 09:33:27

      Hey Julie!

      Well, I noticed the Fearmonger and Riot categories were negative but that’s for obvious reasons.

      I didn’t notice that to be the case with Feel Safe or Pep Talk.. Did you?

      My mind naturally goes to the outrageous with Headlines so for me the challenge is to make sure I’m not misleading.. and to deliver what the Headline promises.

      ~ darlene

    • Jon
      Jul 23, 2013 @ 13:17:12

      The fear section is the largest one, and yes, those are definitely negative. You could argue it’s a personal bias on my part,, but my guess is we have more words to describe fear than any other emotion. Not because we’re afraid all the time, but because fear is one of those emotions that pretty much dominates everything else.

      • Karen Christian (@Bountyvs)
        Jul 25, 2013 @ 00:51:56

        Excellent. Copy, pasted and saved in my swipe file. Thanks Jon for making life easier for the rest of us.

        Julie, fear is the most powerful emotion and is so instilled in our collective conscious and we obviously lust after it because the news media keeps peddling fear every night.

        Also, Hollywood is brilliant at cashing in on fear with movies like World War Z and 2012.

        They say sex sells but I think fear sells more and that’s probably why we have more negative words than positive ones.

        I bet Jon that if you punched every one of those 317 words into a thesaurus you will reach your 1000 word goal very quickly. You know, I think I will do just that.

      • Bernie Dowling
        Jan 17, 2014 @ 20:27:58

        Or to put it more cynically, Jon, fear sell lots of stuff. Thanks for the list. Paradoxically, sentences constructed negatively are a turn-off.

    • Jeffry Pilcher
      Aug 10, 2014 @ 12:39:30

      Academic research has shown that the psychological impact of a negative event is approximately twice in value/significance as a positive event. In other words, we are psychologically wired to respond — at an instinctual level — to anything that could cause harm. This is why copy/words with negative themes trigger more reaction than positive themes.

      • Joe
        Sep 12, 2014 @ 12:39:33

        Can you point me to a source on this “academic research”? Please and thank you!

  4. Rachelle Strauss
    Jul 23, 2013 @ 09:10:23

    Great list Jon, thank you.
    You used, what I perceive to be, a power word in your title and sub title, but I couldn’t see it in the list…

    “Instantly”

    In today’s world where delayed gratification is so last season, we all want instant results, right!?

    • Jon
      Jul 23, 2013 @ 13:17:45

      +1 brownie points for noticing that. :-)

    • Neil
      Oct 28, 2013 @ 13:15:11

      Can I get brownie points for noticing that one too?

    • Paul Jones
      Nov 09, 2013 @ 20:46:54

      On the topic of ‘fear’ appeals, research shows that 60 per cent of the population is more tuned into avoiding a ‘pain’ than making a ‘gain.’ UNLESS you’re talking to people like CEOs: 90 per cent of them are tuned into making a ‘gain.’

      Love your work, Jon. Thanks for this very helpful post.

  5. Peter Geisheker
    Jul 23, 2013 @ 09:10:31

    Awesome list Jon. I use your “52 Headline Hacks” guide all the time and it has really helped my blogs get read a lot more and far more social sharing. Thanks for the great information!

    • Jon
      Jul 23, 2013 @ 13:18:31

      Awesome! Would love to see your results if there is anything in particular you’d like to share.

  6. Sarah Arrow
    Jul 23, 2013 @ 09:17:35

    I love the list but some of the words also make you sound sleazy. Like backdoor. And secrets has been done to death. Okay I’ll admit that everything in the forbidden fruit section is making me feel icky :)

    • Jon
      Jul 23, 2013 @ 13:20:23

      A power words is defined by its ability to make you feel. If the forbidden words are making you feel icky, that just proves their power. :-)

      Also, secrets may have been used to death, but that doesn’t make it any less powerful. People continue using it because it works.

    • Ali Luke
      Jul 24, 2013 @ 00:21:08

      There’s a branding thing at work here, isn’t there? I find that with Jon’s Headline Hacks — some work great for me, others make me shudder and would be off-putting to my audience (but I guess I can see that they’d work for some folk!)

      I like “little-known” as a slightly tamer version of a forbidden fruit word. Also “unusual” and “under-used”.

  7. Kevin
    Jul 23, 2013 @ 09:21:19

    Great list, Jon, thanks for the reminders.

    I’m copying and pasting this one into my permanent writing file.

  8. Bethanny Parker
    Jul 23, 2013 @ 09:21:41

    This is a great list! I copied it into OneNote, and I’ll be sure to come back to check for updates.

  9. Jac
    Jul 23, 2013 @ 09:26:19

    Thanks so much for a great, extended list of power words which I will dutifully and studiously commit to memory and learn how to use.

    Awesome!

  10. Walter Sasiadek
    Jul 23, 2013 @ 09:26:55

    Thank you for your excellent posts and continued professionalism.

    PLEASE keep up the “Confidential, Amazing, Breathtaking and Eye-Opening” work.

  11. Mindy
    Jul 23, 2013 @ 09:28:23

    Thanks Jon, what a great resource. I’ve already tweeted it out.

  12. Amandah
    Jul 23, 2013 @ 09:29:43

    Thank you so much!

    I added this to my Evernote “Power Words” note; I have over 1,500 power words. Now I’ll have over 1,800 power words to use. :)

    • Jon
      Jul 23, 2013 @ 14:29:26

      Oooh! We need to compare lists! :-)

      • Amandah
        Jul 23, 2013 @ 15:30:02

        Hi Jon,

        Some of my favorites from my list are:

        A Cut Above
        Absolutely
        Announced
        Anyone Can Do This
        Approved By Major Companies
        Astonishing
        Astounded
        Audit(ed)
        Balance(d)
        Bandwagon
        Bargain
        Beautiful (overused)
        Believe
        Benefit
        Beneficial
        Before and After
        Beware
        Big
        Blown Away (also a good song by Carrie Underwood)
        Bold
        Bottom Line
        Capture(d)
        Change(d)
        Charge(d)
        Colorful
        Colossal
        Congratulations!
        Crucial
        Don’t be Left Behind
        Earn More Money!
        Envy(ied)
        Extraordinary
        Favorable
        Find the Answer to
        Foolproof
        Get Results Now!
        Gigantic
        Hottest
        How to (oldie but goody)
        In-Depth
        In-Demand
        Invited
        Join Now!
        Judgment
        Killer Strategy
        Last Minute
        Late-Breaking
        Learn About
        Lifetime
        Like No Other
        Master of Your Destiny
        Minimal Investment
        Money-Making
        Money-Saving
        Most Underrated
        No Experience Necessary
        No Experience Necessary
        No Obligation
        No Risk (on your list)
        Nostalgic (I like this word)
        Now is the Time!
        Odd
        Organized
        Outstanding
        People Helping People
        Pioneered
        Priceless
        Quit
        Quiet
        Quick Tips
        Rare
        Realize Your Dreams
        Reap the Benefits
        Red Hot
        Safe
        Save Thousands
        Secure(d)
        Sensational
        Simple
        Savvy
        Sky-Rocket(ed)
        Small Investment
        Smart
        Speedy
        Stand Out from the Crowd
        State-of-the-Art
        Step-by-Step
        Stop Wasting Time!
        Substantial Savings!
        Super (Savings) (Sale)
        Sure-Fire
        Tap Into
        Terrific
        Thousands
        Treated
        Tremendous
        Ultimate
        Ultra
        Underrated
        Unique
        Unlock (oldie but goody)
        Urge(d)
        Urgent
        Validation
        Validated
        Value
        Valuable
        Vibrant
        Warning (an oldie but goody)
        Wealth(y)
        Weird
        Wide Varity
        Win
        Witnessed
        Word-of-Mouth
        X-Ray
        Xanadu
        Year-Round
        You
        Young
        Your
        You Owe it to Yourself
        Zen
        Zest(y)
        Zinger

      • Brooks
        Dec 21, 2013 @ 03:46:16

        Great list! I even went back to read your article and noticed the power words used in it. Thanks!

    • Emerson
      Jul 31, 2013 @ 08:10:52

      Amandah, Thanks for sharing the list of words below! Some good ones in there. And Jon, thank you for a great post. Like many here, I have copied both lists into Evernote.

  13. Will Hoekenga
    Jul 23, 2013 @ 09:32:03

    Great list, Jon. It’s not technically a word, but “NSFW” could fall under lust and curiosity. That one can work under the right circumstances.

    • Jon
      Jul 23, 2013 @ 14:29:58

      Very true. Might be interesting to start an abbreviation category.

  14. Amandah
    Jul 23, 2013 @ 09:34:27

    Hi Jon,

    For some reason, when I clicked on the link to this post, again, I received a “Database Error Connection” error. I just thought I’d let you know.

    • Jon
      Jul 23, 2013 @ 11:30:33

      Thanks. Yes, we seem to be having some technical issues. Investigating.

  15. Harleena Singh
    Jul 23, 2013 @ 09:50:11

    Hi Jon,

    You are so right when you say that most of us don’t tend to use such powerful words in our posts or even the daily lives because we lose touch if we don’t use them regularly, and I speak as a blogger for now.

    Speaking of myself, even though I might use such words when I speak to someone, I am careful to use words that even a 5th grade student would understand or based on the kind of readers I get over at my blog. So, I do need to keep the words very simple and easy to understand. This is for the purpose of blogging, though there are always exceptions.

    I don’t say that’s the case with all the words, but yes, some of them, especially those where a person might need to refer to a dictonary, may be tough for me to use on my blog. I wonder if others feel the same way about using such words in their blog posts, even though I admit they are awesome power words, which we do use otherwise.

    Thanks for sharing these with us. I’mm surely bookmarking this as I’ve got my list of a few words I’d written earlier too, so, would just keep adding onto it whenever you update this one. Have a nice week ahead :)

    • Jon
      Jul 23, 2013 @ 15:52:29

      Sure. You probably wouldn’t want to use “lascivious” around fifth-graders. I think they would understand about 75% of the words on this list, though. Like “breathtaking” or “hero.”

  16. Colette Morris
    Jul 23, 2013 @ 09:54:29

    Great post. So many good words now to learn how to put the story together. Thanks Jon once again for sharing

  17. Deb Dutilh
    Jul 23, 2013 @ 09:57:26

    Another great post, Jon,and a keeper along with the “52 Headline Hacks.” Thanks for sharing so generously.

  18. Shane Arthur
    Jul 23, 2013 @ 10:06:50

    A delicious literary stimulation, Jon. And your About The Author text is the icing.

  19. Mary Jaksch | Writetodone
    Jul 23, 2013 @ 10:15:46

    You’re a legend, Jon!

    This list is pure gold.

    I’m certainly going to use it myself, and share it with my students.

    You set a high standard for insanely useful content. We need people like you to inspire us, Jon

    Thanks!

    – Mary

    Oh, and do join Jon and myself for his awesome free Webinar:

    How to Write Irresistible Headlines and Instantly Double Your Traffic.

    • Jon
      Jul 23, 2013 @ 15:50:13

      Yes, everyone go sign-up for the webinar. It’s going to be stupendous. :-)

  20. Michael Hicks
    Jul 23, 2013 @ 10:26:52

    This is one of the best posts I’ve ever read, Jon.
    Very well done!

    Since you asked us for our contributions, here
    are a few suggestions that might make your list.
    My apologies in advance if you already mentioned
    them:

    Petrified
    Debilitating
    Decadent
    Rock Solid
    Brinks-Truck-Safe
    Chilling
    Goosebumps
    Diabolical
    Calculating
    Relentless
    Unbridled
    Mind-boggling
    Cocoon
    Slimy
    Squeaky Clean

    • Jon
      Jul 23, 2013 @ 15:49:34

      Thanks for the list Michael!

    • Julie Anne
      Jul 24, 2013 @ 07:20:40

      Petrified a great word, and I want to add more to my list, because I forgot to add them at my post on the bottom (and again, sorry for any accidental repeats):

      Crap, “Eff” (as in grow the “eff” up instead of saying “f*ck), effing (for f*cking), NMFP (not my f*cking problem), useless, lazy, menace, lethargic, r@pist, perpetrator, nuisance, leech, bloodsucker, catastrophe, trauma, terrified,

      Oh…and one of my absolute favorite words…

      sociopath

    • BellaBelle
      Jul 27, 2013 @ 09:18:37

      Brinks-Truck-Safe – exceptional and one for my list! Thanks

  21. Rochelle
    Jul 23, 2013 @ 10:37:27

    Oh! This list is awesome! I’m going to go check out my previous posts to see how often I used these words. I know I could use more for sure. I use your headline hacks and they are amazing. I like the words suggested in the comments and will keep coming back for more!

  22. Dara Holland
    Jul 23, 2013 @ 10:38:53

    More great advice from the inimitable Jon Morrow! Thanks for the power words–I’ve added this article to my stash of go-to writing resources.

  23. Sandra Pawula
    Jul 23, 2013 @ 10:41:18

    It’s so easy to get stuck in a rut using the same boring words. I appreciate the way you have expanded our vocabularies with this post!

    At the same time, I will proceed with caution. Some of the stock words like “insider” create aversion for me, and I imagine they might turn off people in my audience too.

    In essence this post is about how to manipulate peoples’ emotions, which many have come to take for granted as a good way to make money. But I personally feel this is a realm in which it’s best to proceed carefully. The main takeaway for me is about enriching my vocabulary. Thanks for the kick in the right place!

    • Jon
      Jul 23, 2013 @ 15:49:10

      Yep. If you think about it, pretty much all writers manipulate the emotions of their readers. It’s just part of what we do.

      The key is doing it in a way your readers like and enjoy. That takes careful study and a lot of thought.

      • Perse
        Sep 25, 2014 @ 19:26:55

        It’s like you mentioned above in your post, it takes ages of practice to learn to use all the different writing techniques out there, but using good vocabulary is a good starter. Just gotta be careful that it doesn’t end your career because of overuse!

  24. Sophie Lizard
    Jul 23, 2013 @ 10:46:46

    One of my favourites is “explicit”. Combination of lust and forbidden fruit there. 😉

    • Leanne Regalla
      Jul 23, 2013 @ 11:15:23

      Good one, Sophie! 😉

    • Jon
      Jul 23, 2013 @ 15:46:45

      That one is definitely going in the next version. :-)

      • Michael Hicks
        Jul 26, 2013 @ 11:13:58

        If you’re going to add “Explicit”, Jon, then “Taboo” deserves strong consideration as well. It’s lust and forbidden fruit all rolled into one. Thanks for the inspiration, Sophie! See what you started??!!!…:-)

  25. Bill Sebell
    Jul 23, 2013 @ 10:50:21

    I love this post. It along with your 52 Headline Hacks have given me a boatload of ideas for my content.

    Here is one possible addition:

    Concocted

  26. terry grant
    Jul 23, 2013 @ 11:03:56

    Great list, but I have taken a vow to stop using the word “amazing.” It is so overused that IMO it has lost its impact. Instead I try for something more descriptive, like “heart-stopping” or “marvelous” or “magical”… you get the picture.

    • Jon
      Jul 23, 2013 @ 15:46:11

      Yep, heart stopping, marvelous, and magical have stronger emotional pulls too.

    • BellaBelle
      Jul 27, 2013 @ 09:27:08

      amazing for conjures up gordon ramsey describing food so for any food might be a good word. marvelous goes with darling and that is Joan Crawford and Joan Rivers so anything Joan or jewelry I would think…

    • Perse
      Sep 25, 2014 @ 19:31:08

      I agree. The same goes for the word “awesome:” enough with it already! I remember when it meant something absolutely extraordinary, and now it has been demoted down to “cool.” I’ve never used the word in my life except to describe schooner sailing, writing, horseback riding, rock climbing, and camping (originally only for sailing). Though I may have slipped a few times…I’m only human, after all.

  27. Todd Tresidder
    Jul 23, 2013 @ 11:31:33

    Your Royal Awesomeness – thank you for the awesome resource. The lists of power words I’ve used in the past pale in comparison to your Awesomeness. I’ve printed and added to my copywriting resource file. Mucho thanks!

  28. Lori
    Jul 23, 2013 @ 11:48:31

    I am super excited to get your mind-blowing list of wondrous power words. The post was an eye opener and such a bargain considering all you want in return is an endorsed share. :) Thanks. Did I over do what I learned from your post? :)

    • Perse
      Sep 25, 2014 @ 19:32:10

      Hey, at least you got the message down! :)

  29. Nicholas Hamilton
    Jul 23, 2013 @ 12:26:43

    what about things like inspiring.

    It would be great to see this topic in an updated headline hacks, or in its own pdf.

  30. Joseph Bernard
    Jul 23, 2013 @ 12:41:07

    I have a God of Writing and his name is Jon.

    Are their statues and other symbols for worshiping in your online store. I need many to adorn my home and to spread across the land to start a Morrow cult.

    No need for purple Kool-Aid, just meditations where we read your posts and reach higher states of writing consciousness and eventually writing nirvana.

    Thanks Jon, you are awesomely admirable.

    • Jon
      Jul 23, 2013 @ 15:44:23

      (laughing) You’re welcome, man.

  31. Mary E. Ulrich
    Jul 23, 2013 @ 12:43:34

    His Royal Highness, Awesomeness, Power Influencer…

    Just printed out the power words to keep forever. Thanks.

    Question: Would each industry/niche also have it’s own set of power words? i.e. in the disability community I think they would be: “inclusion, community, natural supports, family, jobs, friends…” –The impossible dream we are all seeking.

    Your humble servant:)

    • Jon
      Jul 23, 2013 @ 15:43:13

      I think you can use them all for pretty much all niches.

  32. Madeleine Kolb
    Jul 23, 2013 @ 12:57:13

    Jon, A very helpful post and especially timely for me because I’m working on a speech to give on Saturday and need some strong fear words.

    Two words you might consider adding to that category are “brutal” and “exhausting” (or “exhausted”).

  33. Llyane @ FrenchOnSkype
    Jul 23, 2013 @ 13:13:26

    Super this collection!
    The only problem is how to keep this resource handy? :)
    THank you so much, can’t think of a word you missed before I compute each one you gave us here!
    Llyane

    • Jon
      Jul 23, 2013 @ 15:42:01

      Be sure to give it a bookmark. Also, we are preparing a PDF version. :-)

  34. Rodolfo Oliveira
    Jul 23, 2013 @ 14:00:26

    Hi there Jon! This one really reminds me of a report Henneke Duistermaat launched way back called “21 Easy Tips to Turbocharge Your Web Copy and Win Customers” which touches on the subject of Power Words from another scope… would you call sensory words Power Words? If so, I would put them in categories in which the senses I want to stimulate are the ones that remind me of the category’s emotion right? For example: dazzling reminds me of something shiny and new so maybe I would put it in the Greed or Pep Talk category… other examples would be chirpy, sizzling, bland, smelly and any colorful (maybe this is a Power Word too LOL) adjectives… great post!

    • Jon
      Jul 23, 2013 @ 15:42:37

      Ha, yeah, that would be another interesting way to organize them.

      • Henneke
        Jul 24, 2013 @ 01:54:27

        I was thinking exactly the same. That’s one of my favorite categories :)

        A few more examples:

        Gloomy, shadowy, glittering, sparkling, creepy, rotten, moldy, spicy, gritty, drab, roaring, squeaky.

        There’s some interesting research into the power of sensory words: http://www.neurosciencemarketing.com/blog/articles/metaphor-marketing.htm

        Maybe we can create another list for the five senses?

      • kris
        Mar 22, 2014 @ 15:26:33

        What the hell is this list jon… It’s enthralling. What about slangs, rude words?

  35. Charlie Sasser
    Jul 23, 2013 @ 14:09:54

    Great List. Thanks Jon. The only thing missing is a group of words that create FUD (Fear, uncertainty and doubt).

    • Jon
      Jul 23, 2013 @ 15:41:10

      The first group can probably help you with that.

  36. Ion Doaga
    Jul 23, 2013 @ 14:20:58

    Thanks Jon for the hard work you’ve done for us.

    When I heard that I should use power words in my headlines, headings and in copy I agreed, but when I went to find them I didn’t know where to get them from. Watching news and magazine was an “a-ha” moment for me.

    Thanks!!

  37. Mike Martel
    Jul 23, 2013 @ 14:33:08

    Stupendous post! Actually I was thinking of writing one along the same lines. There is so much content out there we have to grab the readers attention. Graphic, descriptive phrasing is a way to take them by the throat and force feed them what they need. 😉

    Thanks for the eloquent reminder!

  38. John Yeoman
    Jul 23, 2013 @ 14:45:49

    Nice idea,Jon. Synonyms are GOOD! Whee! (or Wow!) But, uh, didn’t Roget’s Thesaurus make that point – rather more comprehensively, some 100 year ago? Or am I, in my imbecility,(losing, missing, dropping, overlooking) something here? I love you truly, Jon. (I do.) But please clarify… and tell us, what in this post is truly new? :)

    • Jon
      Jul 23, 2013 @ 15:40:07

      These aren’t synonyms. They are words that cause readers to feel a particular emotion.

      Take a look again at the Winston Churchill example in the beginning.

  39. Joan Y Edwards
    Jul 23, 2013 @ 15:22:19

    Dear Jon,
    Thank you very much for your lists of powerful words. You are very kind to share them with us, your readers.

    Celebrate you.
    Never Give Up
    Joan Y. Edwards

  40. Tzod Earf
    Jul 23, 2013 @ 16:14:09

    A few spur of the moment suggestions:

    Big, Grand, Huge, Captivating, Rock Solid, Essential, One of a kind, Satisfying, Legendary, Full Access, Giant, Exquisite, Over the top, Thrilling, Momentuous, Bargain Basement, Free, Available, Now, Right Now, Low Ball, Ace, Prime, Primo, Diamond in the rough, Gem of a Deal, Envy of them all…

    • Jon
      Jul 24, 2013 @ 07:32:10

      Nice list. Thanks Tzod.

  41. Alex Zemkus
    Jul 23, 2013 @ 16:56:06

    Great list of words Jon. A good resource to get the creative juices flowing in telling a story and getting a point across. Thank you.

  42. Jacqueline
    Jul 23, 2013 @ 17:52:24

    A generous post and resource thank you Jon. For me it’s a reminder to write with passion – to grab readers’ attention and engage them.

    The post is an explanation for why a random post I did a long while back has always been more popular (on view count) than others – Confessions of A Recovering Adrenaline Junkie

    As a therapist my work is all about power words. Thinking about recent sessions these come to mind: hunger, desperation, rage, alone, antidote, wish, dreams. Now if I can just hold on to them as move from my arm chair to my desk and write!

    • Jon
      Jul 24, 2013 @ 07:31:24

      So true. Great insights.

  43. Jason
    Jul 23, 2013 @ 18:12:45

    Great! A list of powerful words that give much more impression when you used it. Thanks John for sharing.

  44. Brian Taylor
    Jul 23, 2013 @ 18:30:42

    Thanks Jon, I am going to love putting these words into use. I think I will even use the ones others have listed.

  45. Mark Hermann
    Jul 23, 2013 @ 18:49:06

    Senational post, Jon!

    This is up there with Headline Hacks for sheer volume of awesome suggestions.

    Here are a few that come to mind in no particular order:

    Incendiary
    Diabolical
    Exclusive (can’t believe that didn’t make it into the Greed category)
    Dibilitating
    Paralysing
    Fabulous
    Psychotic
    Notorious

    Funny about the timing of this post. I was about to publish a new post tonight but I’m gojng to go through it and sprinkle a little power fairy dust on it before it goes out.

    Thanks again, Jon for some truly helpful ideas!

    • Jon
      Jul 24, 2013 @ 07:30:45

      Awesomeness. Love “diabolical.” :-)

  46. John Terry
    Jul 23, 2013 @ 20:43:56

    Great list. However, the editor in me has to ask about “pommel.” I bet you intended to use, “pummel,” which means to hit someone repeatedly. “Pommel” is a knob or protruding part on a sword or a saddle.

    • Jon
      Jul 24, 2013 @ 07:30:04

      Good catch! Fixed.

  47. Megan Hamilton
    Jul 23, 2013 @ 22:34:26

    Thank you Jon! I’ll definitely file this for safekeeping! 😀

  48. Chanlee
    Jul 23, 2013 @ 23:58:39

    Thanks for this awesome resource! Some of my favorites:

    Eye-popping
    Juicy
    Cute
    Weird
    Freakish
    Geeky
    Nerdy
    Ugliest

    • Jon
      Jul 24, 2013 @ 07:27:49

      Good ones!

  49. Matt
    Jul 24, 2013 @ 03:52:56

    Nice list, Jon.

    If I’m learning that there’s one particular weakness in my writing then it’s probably the headline writing so making use of “power words” as you call them should help me out a little!

    Bookmarked!

  50. Fiona Ingram
    Jul 24, 2013 @ 03:59:59

    What an incredibly useful post. Many thanks for sharing.

  51. Gabriela Pereira
    Jul 24, 2013 @ 04:51:57

    Hi Jon,

    I use your headline hacks PDF all the time. In fact, I have officially made it is mandatory reading for all new members of my team. Even if they never write a headline, I think it’s super-important for them to learn good copy-writing skills and Headline Hacks is our go-to resource. Now the lists in these posts are the perfect supplement to help me and my team take our copy-writing to the next level. Awesome!

    Thanks so much for continuing to create such great resources. All the best!

    • Jon
      Jul 24, 2013 @ 07:27:21

      Headlines as mandatory reading? Hot damn. I want to come work at your company. :-)

  52. Lara
    Jul 24, 2013 @ 07:01:18

    I think you need a list of words that evoke an image or feeling like “Gobsmacked.”

    • Jon
      Jul 24, 2013 @ 07:25:28

      Best word ever!

    • BellaBelle
      Jul 27, 2013 @ 09:45:16

      impressive top of my list. thx

  53. Julie Anne
    Jul 24, 2013 @ 07:13:29

    I’m pleased that you have some of my favorite words on your lists. I have a short memory, so if some of these I present to you are already lists above, I apologize in advance.

    Some more of my favorite words:

    My #1 lately is…

    turmoil

    Then I list these:

    Intricate
    Exquisite
    Perturbed
    Disturbed
    Distressed
    Dismayed
    Discouraged
    Empowered
    Justice
    Scott free (as in getting away with murder, r@pe, etc.)

    And also mild swear words that help me keep my blog PG-13:

    Jerk (in place of @sshole)
    Tail or booty (in place of @ss)
    Piece of tail (instead of piece of @ss)
    Boink, Bang, Screw, (instead of f*ck)
    Frick (instead of f*ck)
    Freaking (instead of f*cking)
    Bloody freaking miracle (instead of f*cking miracle)
    Hell
    Sweet lies from Hell
    Fresh lies from hell (or fresh hell)

    Oh, and of course — last but not least —

    Douchebag! LOL

    • Jon
      Jul 24, 2013 @ 07:26:14

      Nice! I’ll have to add some of these.

    • BellaBelle
      Jul 27, 2013 @ 09:48:21

      sweet lies from hell is my new “scam” phrase…. thx

  54. Debbie
    Jul 24, 2013 @ 08:24:21

    Thanks Jon. I do know that the power words can make a big difference. Thanks for the list. Now have it printed and good to go with more of your great help from you.
    Debbie

    • Beat Schindler
      Jul 24, 2013 @ 12:47:57

      Hi Debbie, definitely some super-powerful power words in your blog title! :-]]

      Glad my parents, in what I presume was a back-to-the-future move ahead of its time, got hold of your advice just in time for me … lol

      • Debbie
        Jul 24, 2013 @ 13:39:02

        Thanks Beat,

        I can’t take all the credit for it though. The truth is Jon pretty much came up with that one, with his blogging class I took. It sure is paying off for me.

        Actually i just got an email from someone that wants to advertise on my site.

        What can i say, Jon is good with the words.
        Thanks again and hope you have a great day or evening.

        Debbie

      • Perse
        Sep 25, 2014 @ 19:45:53

        Debbie, you have definitely utilized Jon’s lessons well! Your headings are irresistible! I challenge the young and inexperienced to stay away…lol!

  55. Kay Fudala
    Jul 24, 2013 @ 08:25:53

    Jon, a great post! Tony Robbins also refers to power words. Looking at your list, I see authentic listed under “safe”. I never thought of it that way before. Maybe having worked in the corporate world, authentic seems more audacious to me. Now, I am going to have to change the tagline for my site. 😛

    I love the concept of juxtaposition and confluence. Other words I love are those that convey a transitory magical feeling – elusive, evanescent, fleeting.

    I am going to have to grab your headline hacks PDF.

  56. Bree
    Jul 24, 2013 @ 08:27:26

    These are delightful (would that be a power word?), but I’m curious about one thing: there are a lot of adjectives in this list. Online marketers and copywriters keep saying it’s best to be simple while also being compelling, which means leaving out adjectives when they’re not necessary.

    But it seems you’re making the case that they ARE necessary to a degree, right? Otherwise people won’t emotionally be pulled in by what you’re reading.

    • Jon
      Jul 24, 2013 @ 15:07:48

      That’s absolutely true. 😉

      • Bree
        Jul 24, 2013 @ 15:20:58

        Thanks! Glad to see my love of adjectives doesn’t have to be ENTIRELY thrown out the window. :)

  57. Michael
    Jul 24, 2013 @ 08:57:19

    Hey Jon,
    I feel like I’m on a radio call in show so I’ll start by saying Long time reader, first time commentor. LOL

    AWESOME and I mean AWESOME list! I’ll be using these for sure!

    I have a few to add if I may:
    Transient
    Disrupt
    Sabotage
    Forge
    Ravenous
    Maverick
    Rogue
    Emphatic
    Boost
    Sprint
    Drudgery
    Fervor
    Wrath
    Spook
    Awe
    Moxie
    Zest
    Zeal
    Cachet
    Schism
    Doctrine
    Dogma
    Zealot

    And I seem to be using this one a lot lately:
    PRAGMATIC

    Cheers!

    • Jon
      Jul 27, 2013 @ 08:04:01

      Some great words there. Thanks for sharing!

  58. Beat Schindler
    Jul 24, 2013 @ 09:00:50

    Your Royal Awesomeness, hi … with breathtaking “Thanks!” for your sensational list.

    I’ve been bombarded with devastatingly boring power word lists ever since the last millennium, but Your Royal Awesomeness’s volatile compilation of power words is strikingly different. It’s eye-openingly intelligent.

    Re the staggering importance of (power) words. “In the beginning was the word”. Not only is it tantalizingly clear – “what part of ‘in the beginning’ do you not understand?” – it’s also a secret and therefore hypnotic wisdom of every sage and wisdom that ever existed, across all time, space and religions, gracefully discounting the usual few exceptions. Yet, I shamelessly admit [in truth I’m thrilled to admit], it took my genius self a revoltingly long time to a) notice, b) to believe and c) to really believe it … and experience the magic of belief in power words.

    Now your evil list will quadruple the experience, no doubt about it. Hence my recession-proof thanks.

    But I see Your Gifted Awesomeness by now is getting over-powered or disgustingly bored – likely both.

    So let me hurriedly take quick leave … by crookedly adding the only other intelligent list of power words in my trusted hands is from Tony Robbins [Unleash the Giant Within]. He lists words in two columns: “good word” and “great word”. Cannot reproduce it here – whoppingly true – because I only have it as a guaranteed jpg file. But if anyone wants the bonanza of a copy, just holler and make sure it includes your prized email, and a power word or two :-]

  59. Rebecca Scott Boddie
    Jul 24, 2013 @ 10:46:53

    Great list. My additions:

    Silky

    Notorious

  60. Tom Southern
    Jul 24, 2013 @ 11:24:20

    Jon, mind-blowing stuff! :)

    How about “because”? Tony Robbins first gave me insight into the power of this word. Years later, Brian Clark reminded me. Tony Robbins suggested doing a little experiment to see how powerful “because” was …

    Go to the front of any line of people waiting for something – have a really good excuse ready for why you need to be served [or whatever] first and add “because” like this … “Do you all mind if I go first because …[enter good excuse] my little girl’s lost her teddy and she thinks he might be in here.” Or ..

    Other power words: Please. May I? Thank-you. You’re fired! … possibly not in that order :)

  61. Lorna
    Jul 24, 2013 @ 11:47:46

    Great post Jon, thanks… I’ll be using it with your Headline Hacks report to juice up my headlines.

    Tony Robbins has a very effective practice to change emotional states by changing our usual, self-talk vocabulary to one peppered with power words; they’re a potent influence. Fab list.

  62. Don
    Jul 24, 2013 @ 12:07:54

    This is a really great list. I have been working on improving my writing and this should really help. Thank you for posting this

  63. Mary Ann
    Jul 24, 2013 @ 15:11:24

    Dear “His Royal Awesomeness”!

    What an impressive and powerful list of perfectly categorized word groups! I’m sending you a H-U-G !

    I’m another fan of “Headline Hacks” that I originally downloaded in March 2012 — it’s been like a word bible!

    Thank you Jon!

  64. Suzi
    Jul 24, 2013 @ 16:33:13

    Holy Forgotten Bonanza Batman! This article has titillated my limp mind!

    Thank you!

  65. Theresa Cahill
    Jul 24, 2013 @ 17:52:30

    Wow, what else can I say that hasn’t already been said? Like all those before me, I copied this into a word doc (including most of the comment lists) for even more reference material! Thank you!

  66. KC Herbel
    Jul 24, 2013 @ 20:21:15

    Thanks for not including curse words. They’re like that broken screwdriver you keep in the drawer. It might work, but it will probably just make someone really angry at you for using it.

    Also, I like: “carnage”, “rock star”, “inevitable”, “betray”, “putrid”, “rotten”, “rat”, “patriot”, “made in America”, “Draconian” (when I can get away with it), and especially “insanity” (because it can be good or bad depending on context).

  67. Elena @ Blog Giveaways
    Jul 24, 2013 @ 22:07:01

    Jon, I love your article and your list of power words is incredible. I am sure I will be using it all the time. Thanks for sharing your knowledge with us. It’s always greatly appreciated!

  68. Maurice Bernier
    Jul 25, 2013 @ 11:12:50

    Let’s face it. Everything we do in life relates to our emotions. What this list of words does is help us to communicate better as writers and capture those emotions from our readers.

    I offer my sincere appreciation for this list and will be sure to keep it in a safe place along with sharing this great article.

    Wishing everyone a great inspiration filled day,

    Maurice

  69. Jane Bromley
    Jul 25, 2013 @ 14:36:49

    Hi Jon. Another staggeringly useful post that will help us to rise to victory. Many thanks.

    How about:
    dying
    awesome
    unstoppable
    alone
    abandoned
    fighting
    mother
    ideals (I wonder where I got those last 3)
    surrender
    freedom
    love
    waspish
    inspired
    struggle
    soar
    impressive
    heady

    I can’t see them in your list- but I may have missed them.

    This list is almost as useful as Headline Hacks. Magical! Thanks again. Jane

  70. ronel
    Jul 26, 2013 @ 02:51:13

    Excellent. I am a great believer in power words and write and rewrite constantly before posting. Thanks for your list.I will add to mine. Great post.

  71. ALISON
    Jul 26, 2013 @ 07:05:26

    I’m gobsmacked! (Just had to repeat that word.)

    Inspired to contribute an ” Old Coots’ Cahoots” annex:
    addle
    bamboozle
    cahoots
    cockamamie
    codger
    coot
    craw
    curmudgeon
    dagnabbit
    doddering
    dandy
    dandified
    jim-dandy
    fester
    foolhardy
    frank
    gobbedlygook
    grog
    guffah
    habberdashery
    hayseed
    heyday
    hobnob
    horsey
    kerfuffle
    lolligag
    rascal
    rip-roaring
    ripsnorter
    shenanigans
    skidaddle
    skinflint
    skullduggery
    slapdash
    sloe-eyed
    small fry
    soft shoe
    tippled
    tomfoolery
    toodle-do
    toodles
    toots
    whittle
    whollop
    whoop-de-do
    yackety-yack
    yammer
    yellow-belly
    young ‘un
    youza
    yuk
    yellow-bellied sapsucker
    zounds
    zowie
    zzz

  72. anton crone
    Jul 26, 2013 @ 09:06:32

    I worry about this type of guide as it lacks so much that is fundamental to the craft of good writing, such as pace, tempo and punctuation. “How to become an instantly better writer,” it says, “it’s simple: Use power words.” If it were that simple there wouldn’t be writers of the calibre we celebrate. If painting were a metaphor, it would say: “it’s simple. Use the colour red.” Picasso painted some of his most famous works in muted blue’s and grey. It goes on to cite a speech of Winston Churchill’s where he uses “power words” yet it brushes over the fact that those words were used in the context of war – a subject of power in itself. it also ignores the power of Churchill’s voice – his pace and tempo and the people who were used to imitate him (there is good evidence that his radio speeches were recorded by a voice artist imitating him). I see so many bloggers applying similar rules while ignoring the power of developing their own style and voice. It is the only way to truly stand out because too many bloggers are taking attention grabbing guides like this to heart.

    • Michael
      Jul 26, 2013 @ 11:48:48

      I understand what you’re saying but blogging is an advanced form of communication that is entirely different than traditional styles of writing. Blogging is meant to attract readers and gain attention because of it’s intimate and quick to read format.

      What Jon’s post does is it tells you how to be a better blogger, not to be a better “writer” in the traditional writing sense. Go and read any newspaper and then go read their blog. I’m sure you’ll find very quickly that they are merely curating content with the odd piece thrown in and calling it a blog. That’s not blogging. That’s Journalism.

      I was surfing a writers website and looked at their guest post submission guidelines. It asked for a degree in communications and posts must be written in AP style. Since when does AP style have to do with blogging?

      I think too many people (along with the so called blogging experts)seem to confuse blogging with the writing we were all taught in school. Two completely different things. Jon doesn’t do that. He has a very clear understanding of what a blog is and what traditional writing is. If you want to write a better fiction novel, screenplay, business letter or speech, take a college level writing class. If you want to learn how to blog, learn from guys who live it.

      Just my two cents.

      • anton crone
        Jul 27, 2013 @ 03:51:16

        Thanks for your reply, Michael.

        Writing forms the basis of blogging, as it does journalism, play writing, speech writing and so on. All of these forms employ words, which are crafted by what we all call WRITING, to attract readers or listeners and gain attention. ALL writing, not just blogging.

        Even Jon’s headline states: 317 Power Words That’ll Instantly Make You a Better WRITER. Not a blogger. A WRITER.

        People may believe blogging needs to be shorter and punchier to retain peoples attention, but a 2000 word long blog can retain peoples attention if it is WRITTEN well.

        Using these so called power words does not make you a better writer. The power of a written piece does not come from individual words, it comes from the context the words are written in; how they relate to other words; sentences; paragraphs and the subject they are describing.

        Michael, You say: “I think too many people (along with the so called blogging experts)seem to confuse blogging with the writing we were all taught in school.” This is a ridiculous assumption. The fact that bloggers can string sentences together is a direct result of that schooling. Without it, blogging would not exist.

      • Perse
        Sep 25, 2014 @ 19:57:44

        Indeed, Anton Crone. I’m a novelist myself and come from a world where good, contextual, syntactic writing is as important as vocabulary. But vocabulary’s important too! This list may not touch on everything that makes a good writer, but it specializes in one thing. Why not take that college level writing class Michael mentioned if you want the rest of the picture? And I’m sure there are bloggers out there who specialize in other elements…

  73. Melissa Breau (@MelissaBreau)
    Jul 26, 2013 @ 09:28:56

    Hey Jon,
    I’ve got one more word that should definitely be added to your power list.

    Ben Casnocha just did an entire post on the power of the word “yet” and it’s ability to motivate.

    (here’s the post he wrote: http://casnocha.com/2013/07/the-power-of-the-word-yet.html)

    Pretty convincing, no?

    • anton crone
      Jul 26, 2013 @ 09:46:35

      No. It is not a “power word” in the context of the blog piece above. It is made “powerful” by its application in the sentences or phrases mentioned in the piece you reference. It is just a word, otherwise you may as well say “the” is a power word, or any other word for that matter. Looking at the words above, a great number of them require context to give them “power”. For example: gift; mother; silly, belief. Some of them aren’t even words. IRS? For crying out loud. Some are more than one word: Sick and tired; marked down?

      Come on, Jon.

  74. Mario Zeleny
    Jul 26, 2013 @ 15:41:53

    I know something that would make me a better writer…

    Taking this article as well as some of your other awesome basic writing technique articles, and putting them to practice in a system each time I write!

    Why do we fail to do what we know to do, especially when someone helps us out (gives us the answers? DOH…

    I am determine to get this right….

    Thanks for another great one, Jon!

  75. Taheerah Barney
    Jul 26, 2013 @ 18:57:37

    Hi Jon,

    Thanks very much for this post. I am always looking for descriptive words to flood my readers’ senses. Ok, maybe that was a tad too dramatic, but I think you understand what I mean.

    Anyways, here is a list of words that I’ve used recently:

    inexplicable
    flashed
    twinge
    precious
    simmering
    stewing
    gorgeous
    excruciating
    pristine
    guarded
    throaty
    sneer
    struck
    conjoined
    exude/ooze
    venom
    ecstasy
    barrage
    tug-of-war
    monologue
    blast
    inched
    sly
    ample
    paranoia-induced
    haze
    alienate
    chide
    inconspicuous
    sanctimonious
    bastard
    unadulterated

  76. BellaBelle
    Jul 27, 2013 @ 10:06:45

    Thanks for the article and thanks to all those that took the time to comment. This has given me some fresh ideas.

  77. anna
    Jul 29, 2013 @ 07:56:52

    Love this, thank you!

  78. Stephen Irvine
    Jul 29, 2013 @ 08:34:01

    ha! a list to be reckoned with. Great resource and a very interesting read. Great work.

  79. Herbert Peters
    Jul 29, 2013 @ 10:10:27

    I think we should petition Microsoft to add high-lightened power words to synonyms. That way it is easy. Sorry. It is the lazy me.

  80. Herbert Peters
    Jul 29, 2013 @ 10:12:29

    Jon, I forgot to thank you. This is a lot of hard work and the comments have added more to its value. Thanks for this great work. Cheers.

  81. Michelle
    Jul 29, 2013 @ 10:56:51

    Wow! Much like your former students, I have been looking for this list for years! Thanks for putting this together and now I will print it out and place it in front of me for reference in all my writing. I have also shared it with our writers so they too can benefit from your Uncensored, Mind-Blowing and Victorious list of power words. Thansk!

  82. Alice Carney
    Jul 29, 2013 @ 12:02:23

    Jon, my hat off to you. As a former college teacher of rhetoric a Dale Carnegie instructor and writing coach, I watch people struggle to find the right words to appeal to the right emotion. Your explanations and lists are concrete, and once again, very helpful. Thanks for being there for us.

    • Cecil
      Jul 29, 2013 @ 16:19:51

      I am the same blowing my hat off to Jon. He has all the right terms to display his thoughts on emotions and all. Well organized and great post to show. Share for for more of this kind Jon. Thanks

  83. Jules Galloway
    Jul 29, 2013 @ 17:19:54

    I write about natural health and food, and I often find myself using the same old words when posting my recipes (boooring!!!). Food is very much tied in with emotion, so I am going to try some of these “new” words. Thanks so much!

  84. Jill Powers
    Jul 29, 2013 @ 17:59:59

    Great list…I may have overlooked it, but it seems like “Insane” might be a great word…as in “Insane Offer” or “you’d be insane to miss this!” What do you think? Thanks for a terrific boost for boring blog posts!

  85. Maurice Bernier
    Jul 31, 2013 @ 10:26:24

    Just thought I’d pop back in to let you know that everyone I’ve shared this with has given me nothing but Thanks so lets cheers to that and keep on rockin with words! :)

  86. Becky Jackson
    Aug 01, 2013 @ 12:00:10

    Jon, this post and all these words are awesome! What makes them all so rich and intense is the way they connect us to our feelings; the way they bring us to something in our lives that matters.

    Thank you!

  87. Shandra Artura
    Aug 03, 2013 @ 07:30:44

    That is hands-down, one of the BEST, most USEFUL posts I’ve seen. I used your Headline Hacks with great success and this is now going to build upon that vision to post powerful headlines with even more powerful content. Thank you!!!!!

  88. Jean Royster-Hills
    Aug 14, 2013 @ 11:27:13

    Just found you guys and am loving all the words. Smooches.

  89. Shawn
    Aug 21, 2013 @ 15:52:16

    This list is great! Seems like it would be some good words to use in sales pages as well. Thank you!

  90. Salini Dinesh
    Aug 25, 2013 @ 03:56:16

    Excellent article Jon .Thanks for sharing these power words.

  91. Varina Suellen Plonski
    Aug 29, 2013 @ 01:21:08

    Reading some of the comments makes me think some of them missed the point. These words are power words because they evoke an immediate, emotional and visceral response. That is their power! One of the most powerful words I know is not itself a power word; it does not itself have the power of the words in your blog, it is instead a word that describes them. The word is NUANCE. Why say ‘red’ when you can evoke a more emotional, visceral response by saying ‘scarlet’? The smell of blood is one thing; the smoky copper scent of blood is entirely another. Those descriptive, nuanced words are words of power. That’s what these words are. Thank you so much for adding to my store!

    Favorite FB pic I saw lately: Never underestimate the seductive power of a decent vocabulary!

  92. Estevan Montoya
    Aug 29, 2013 @ 13:41:32

    Great content! The “power word” in the title is what got my attention. I’ll be using this for my next e-book and optin form. Thanks!

  93. Jill
    Aug 31, 2013 @ 00:58:13

    Jon I cannot thank you enough for this killer list…and everyone else for adding even more! If I could bookmark this more than once, I would!

    Pure magic right here!

  94. Philip Harper
    Sep 28, 2013 @ 03:16:30

    This is such a helpful post, really grateful you shared. I like to throw in “potentionally award-winning” now and again.

    Love it! Save as > Bookmark

  95. John Wayne Zimmerman
    Sep 28, 2013 @ 07:33:20

    Great post. This is clearly valuable information.

  96. Romy
    Oct 04, 2013 @ 18:07:37

    I loved reading this post and all of your comments. They were a real source of inspiration and a great learning opportunity, as English is not my main language. This is a great way for me to expand my vocabulary and cultivate a more distinguished communication style, so thank you everyone.

  97. Michael
    Oct 09, 2013 @ 03:17:08

    All of the above.

    Thanks Jon.

  98. Lee J Tyler
    Oct 09, 2013 @ 22:49:19

    Incredible post and list, Jon.

    Peak/peek as in summit or peaked his curiosity. The latter: Get a Special Peek into Our [goods} before [the masses]…I’ve stashed some more away and will come back and add them. Though another source is Mark Twain/Samuel Clemens.He could come up with some doozies! I’ll look through those as well.

    We, as novelists, are taught not to use the $10 word when the $1 one would work (thank you, Hemingway). But, though similar, copywriting has its own rules and you are setting up to become the next Merriam Webster (and Mark Twain) of our time. Love this.

  99. Lynn Silva
    Oct 13, 2013 @ 15:50:51

    The other day I listened to a class you gave on how to make $2000 per post. In it, you talked about using ‘power words’…so I started making a list of what I assumed would be good power words.

    THANK GOODNESS I came across this! Saves a lot of time and these ‘power’ words are way better than the list I had started!

    Awesome stuff! Thanks.

  100. Surat
    Oct 26, 2013 @ 02:23:03

    Thanks for the list Jon. Your list is quite effective. I bookmarked this page for future use while writing new blog posts. This list of words is quite effective and easy to use. Thanks for sharing this list.

  101. Adeline Blumer
    Nov 05, 2013 @ 23:31:32

    Jon… you are the most generous person, really! Sharing so much to ensure others are also successful. Pretty happy with all the word lists I got from your page and comments. I’m a month-old blogger… so just getting going and finding that yes, I love writing.. but catching the attention of a sophisticated and click-happy current social media audienceI is not about presenting a powerful book.. it’s about sound bytes and seconds of their headspace. I agree with the ‘devil’s advocate commentator” re words are really only powerful in their designated context.. but we still need WORDS! So thanks a bunch. Can’t wait to wordsmith… within the context and get myself and my audience stoked
    :-)

  102. Bernice McDonald
    Dec 29, 2013 @ 17:46:09

    I love words!! I could take each one and write and paragraph around it. Thanks for so many incredible ideas. It’s quite an undertaking to come up with something like this. I have used a list of words for choosing life values or inspiring a passion statement but never thought about words in this context before. Thanks to everyone for your contribution as well. Much food for thought (and pen).

  103. Jordan Michaels
    Dec 31, 2013 @ 17:57:33

    As someone who has really struggled with my writing, I have found that a thesaurus is truly my strongest asset. But posts like these are a close second. Some of these are words I know, but I just never think of implementing. I’m glad I have a new resource to look back on now for my next blog post! Thanks!

  104. Stan Eigi
    Jan 12, 2014 @ 04:19:21

    This is an amazing article! with that list no article will be a dull text! I learned so many new power words. And I think I’ll go an fix my article like right now! Thanks a lot for the list!

  105. mannequin
    Jan 30, 2014 @ 05:05:33

    what a great resource. I love this list, this is pure gold for me. thanks you sooo much. especially the forbidden fruit list is really awsome and great to know these words. with these lists I´m sure I can improve my marketing and especially marketing for offline. thanks again. this blog is officially bookmarked.

  106. Mirta
    Jan 30, 2014 @ 13:59:27

    Wow… Here’s what I made for easy additions to the list: http://prntscr.com/2nzt5m (I can share the link for those who want it :))
    This was, obviously, just for starters, considering all the contributions in the comments 😀

  107. Kiky
    Feb 10, 2014 @ 10:28:02

    *gasp*

    *speechless*

  108. Abhishek Tavasalkar
    Feb 17, 2014 @ 08:28:03

    Yesterday I read a blog post on the Internet about powerful words and the one word I think is not included maybe supposedly not included is “viral”. I think the viral word is also a power word. I don’t want to compete with this article I’m just a beginner to blogging so if I’m wrong do let me know

  109. liberty
    Feb 18, 2014 @ 23:05:22

    A brilliant piece of work! May I post a link of this article in my blog? My friends will find it very helpful.

  110. vivek
    Feb 21, 2014 @ 10:26:56

    Coooooool ! Going to try this out for my future posts

  111. Lynn
    Mar 04, 2014 @ 10:31:06

    This is an awesome list here. I have looked at it several times when trying to make a query or hook for a book I am writing and found several words that have worked for me. Although during one query I was writing I found that Vigilante worked for me better than Terrorist. I did not see that in one of the lists and do not know if anyone else has mentioned that one yet. If not there is a new word for you.

  112. Sean
    Apr 19, 2014 @ 03:23:18

    One word that never loses its power:

    New

  113. Ash
    Apr 21, 2014 @ 02:05:38

    I have a couple to add:

    Erotic (lascivious list)
    Dastardly (fear monger list)
    Iron clad (make ’em safe list)

    And there’s one that I kinda made up “toe curler” as in Stephen King’s novels are so scary and beautifully written that they’re real toe curlers.

    :-)

  114. Devon Trevarrow Flaherty
    Apr 23, 2014 @ 08:11:50

    Was so glad I stumbled on this post from Jodie Llyewellyn’s post. Will give me food for thought as I write my next blog entry and then next 2000 words on my next books, today. Here are some power words from my writing, yesterday. I used this as an exercise to explore my writing:

    bubbled
    smooth
    cool
    underground
    alert
    bleary
    yawning
    licked
    high
    grating
    chest
    lifted
    feisty
    nuzzled
    lips
    soft
    warm
    thrumming
    bones
    stretched
    stroked
    guttoral
    breaking
    strip
    oblivion
    unforgiving
    hit
    suck
    poison
    secret

  115. Steve
    Apr 26, 2014 @ 22:41:37

    Lots of good ones – i don’t remember seeing
    ignite
    incite

  116. Noel Warnell
    Apr 30, 2014 @ 06:49:48

    Jon – congrats – a cracking post, that I use every week as a reference guide when creating and editing my own. It does what it says on the tin, because it absolutely HAS made me a better writer.

  117. thomas daniels
    Jul 07, 2014 @ 15:56:27

    We have to use power words and think powerful, great post bro, keep up the good writing, I’m taking notes.

  118. Michael Haines
    Jul 08, 2014 @ 14:07:50

    Just so you know, I liked your blog and printed it but your “Grow Your Bog to Six figures” promo blocks the upper left corner of each page so that the keywords behind it on every page I printed are completely blocked. Pretty frustrating!!

  119. Plex Boogie
    Jul 15, 2014 @ 01:40:44

    Compelling collection of words on this page! Here are a few that I think evoke a lot of emotion:

    Train-Wreck
    Crushing
    Invigorating
    Force
    Surrounded
    Collide
    Unknown
    Embellish
    Calamity
    Absorb
    Immeasurable
    Transparent
    Tremble
    Vivacious

  120. Alexander
    Jul 19, 2014 @ 15:51:31

    Thanks Jon, yet another beautiful one.

    I have been using these now a few times, but I am struggling with how much I should emulate your style.

    German audiences, besides reading a different language, have a bit of a different rhythm.

    Also, you tend to hype the living gold out of your articles. Contrary to most other authors, you keep your promises of awesomeness.

    But Germans are a little allergic to hype.

    The last time Germans believed in hype, in particular political hype, it didn’t go over so well for them and even less for the rest of the world.

    Maybe you heard about it.

    Anyway, thanks again for making me a better writer and a more conscious promoter. People actually read my posts now.

  121. Greg Butler
    Aug 04, 2014 @ 11:28:30

    The secrets of this post can skyrocket anyone’s blog to staggering heights of success. A true gift from a true genius. Thank you.

  122. Gultom
    Aug 17, 2014 @ 10:58:53

    I completely Agree with some “intriguing” words that you suggest but for some it was too “extreme” so I cant use some of those words to my blog. If I want to straight “extravaganza” and try to attract peoples, I’ll probably will use some harsh words such as N-Word, F-Word, B-Word, FG-Word and many more and I will get some backlash for that.

  123. Anne
    Aug 19, 2014 @ 10:46:11

    A million dollar idea – it would be great to have a power word thesauras online.

  124. Greg Butler
    Aug 21, 2014 @ 11:05:34

    Here are 120 more power words that I came up with for the Fear Mongering category:

    Aching

    Adversity

    Affliction

    Alarming

    Ambush

    Anguish

    Annihilate

    Apprehension

    Assassination

    Attack

    Backfire

    Bloodbath

    Blow

    Blunder

    Butcher

    Calamity

    Cancer

    Carnality

    Cataclysm

    Cave in

    Cheated

    Choke

    Conflagration

    Confusion

    Condemned

    Corruption

    Crooked

    Cruelty

    Crush

    Curse

    Deceptive

    Demolish

    Deranged

    Despair

    Devious

    Disease

    Discretion

    Distraught

    Distress

    Disturbance

    Dreadful

    Emergency

    Endangerment

    Epidemic

    Exposed

    Exterminate

    Eye-opening

    Fake

    Fatal

    Fragile

    Fury

    Grievous

    Hallucination

    Harrowing

    Havoc

    Haunt

    Heedless

    Hijack

    Hysteria

    Ignorant

    Impotent

    Incapacitated

    Incursion

    Infiltration

    Innocent

    Insane

    Insecure

    Killing

    Lethal

    Lechery

    Lewd

    Liability

    Malignant

    Massacre

    Menace

    Misery

    Mortal

    Mortify

    Naive

    Nosedive

    Onslaught

    Outrageous

    Persecute

    Petrify

    Poison

    Provocation

    Psychopath

    Punch

    Punishment

    Quagmire

    Quicksand

    Raid

    Ravage

    Retaliation

    Robbery

    Ruin

    Scourge

    Shame

    Shenanigans

    Shock

    Shriek

    Sorrow

    Steal

    Strike

    Suffocate

    Threat

    Tirade

    Toil

    Topple

    Torment

    Tragedy

    Trauma

    Treacherous

    Trepidation

    Trouble

    Trounce

    Vacillate

    Vigilance

    Violent

    Weak

  125. James Tlumacz
    Sep 06, 2014 @ 10:53:21

    How about:
    Speedy
    Calculating
    Sensational
    Petrified
    Savvy
    Treated
    Ultimate
    Rock Solid :)

  126. John Espenschied
    Oct 03, 2014 @ 13:38:03

    Great info even if you’re not a PRO writer
    These are great words that I can use to get my prospects motivated to call or click on my website.
    Thanks,
    John

  127. Michelle
    Nov 12, 2014 @ 07:41:09

    This was a very helpful article. Definitely going to be referring back to it. Thank you so much!

  128. Kelly
    Nov 20, 2014 @ 08:19:26

    This will be very helpful! I’m going to print out these lists out and stick them up on the wall of my office! Thank you!!! :)

  129. Lidiya K
    Dec 04, 2014 @ 13:10:43

    Great post! Thank you for making the list so detailed and organized, and sharing it for free.
    I’ll definitely add many of these to my posts and make them a permanent part of my vocabulary.
    We all know these words, but we often try to think of new, modern, complex ones that we think will grab attention. Eventually, we realize that simplicity is the solution to everything. The simpler, the better.

  130. Nona Rekcah
    Dec 26, 2014 @ 21:43:00

    Savage

  131. Rob
    Jan 02, 2015 @ 18:57:02

    Awesome! Thank you for this! Where can I get a copy to have with me at all times?

  132. Patrizio
    Jan 08, 2015 @ 09:30:33

    Hi all,

    Great piece here, and what’s more: followed by great comments. Thanks to all.
    My humble contribution primarily but not exclusively for political speeches :
    – Loyal(ty)
    – Patriot
    – Country
    – Future
    – (our) Children
    – Safe(ty)
    – Promise/pledge
    – (our) Duty
    – any term linked to physical exercise: run, rush, lift, push…

  133. Jan Richards
    Jan 09, 2015 @ 15:19:57

    Hi Jon, Great list, great post! More ideas for your list of 1000 power words when you create it: flee, fan, flame, charge, fury, free (not in the no-cost sense, but in freeing a prisoner), glory, glorify, exuberance, guffaw, volcanic, hassle, harried, hair-tearing, genius, generous, humble, zen-like, ravenous, raging, riotous

  134. lisa
    Jan 12, 2015 @ 15:35:44

    Thanks for posting so much great content – and often!

  135. Michelle Lapointe
    Feb 01, 2015 @ 15:16:16

    Great List. I have now bookmarked it so that I can keep referring back to it when writing certain blog posts and articles. Thank you.

  136. kingsley
    Feb 07, 2015 @ 13:07:58

    Great topic. Love the article would consider implementing soon.

  137. siciliya
    Feb 11, 2015 @ 04:09:24

    thanks, these are seriously awesome words

  138. Robin Follette
    Mar 01, 2015 @ 20:05:13

    Thank you! I’m struggling to improve my boring headlines. I appreciate the list being very long.