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A Dictionary of Useful Phrases - A

Word Building - A

Here is a collection of excellent phrases and word combinations starting with the letter A that you can use to add spice to your writings and speech.

Prepositional Phrases Grouped by Concept and Topic


abandon of spontaneity

abatement of misery

aberrations of judgment

abhorrence of meanness

absence of vainglory

abyss of ignominy

accent of conviction

accretions of time

accumulation of ages

accuracy of aim

acquisition of knowledge

activity of attention

acuteness of sensibility

admixture of fear

affectation of content

affinity of events

age of ignorance

agility of brain

agony of despair

air of assumption

ambitious of success

amiability of disposition

amplitude of space

anachronisms of thought

anchor of moderation

angle of vision

annulment of influence

aping of manners

apostle of culture

ardor of life

arrogance of opinion

aspect of grandeur

assumption of sternness

atmosphere of obscurity

attitude of mind

attribute of weakness

austerities of fanaticism

authority of manner

avalanche of scorn

avenues of dissemination

Individual Words Grouped by Concept

able, skilful, thorough, and genuine

absolute, complete, unqualified, and final

accurate, precise, exact, and truthful

active, alert, vigorous, and industrious

actual, positive, certain, and genuine

adequate, uniform, proportionate, and equitable

adventurous, fine, active, and gossipy

adverse, antagonistic, unfriendly, and hostile

advisable, advantageous, acceptable, and expedient

affable, diffident, humble, and mild

affectionate, tender, loving, and attached

affluent, opulent, abundant, and ample

allurements, pits, snares, and torments

anger, indignation, resentment, and rage

animate, impel, instigate, and embolden

animosity, malice, enmity, and hatred

annul, frustrate, reverse, and destroy

anxiety, caution, watchfulness, and solicitude

apparent, ostensible, plausible, and specious

appropriate, use, arrogate, and usurp
[arrogate = claim without right; appropriate]

approval, enthusiasm, sympathy, and applause

aptitude, capacity, efficiency, and power

arbitrary, dictatorial, domineering, and imperious
[imperious = arrogantly domineering or overbearing]

architecture, sculpture, painting, and poetry

ardent, impatient, keen, and vehement

argue, discuss, dispute, and prove

arrangement, place, time, and circumstance

art, science, knowledge, and culture

artful, wily, insincere, and disingenuous

artificial, soulless, hectic, and unreal

assemble, amass, accumulate, and acquire

assiduity, tenderness, industry, and vigilance
[assiduity = persistent application]

assurance, persuasion, fidelity, and loyalty

attention, effort, diligence, and assiduity
[assiduity = persistent application]

august, magnanimous, important, and distinguished

authoritative, independent, arbitrary, and supreme

avaricious, grasping, miserly, and parsimonious
[parsimonious = excessively frugal]

aversion, dislike, hatred, and repugnance

A blind rage like a fire swept over him

A book that rends and tears like a broken saw

A breath of melancholy made itself felt
like a chill and sudden gust from some unknown sea

A cloud in the west like a pall creeps upward

A cloud like a flag from the sky

A cluster of stars hangs like fruit in the tree

A confused mass of impressions, like an old rubbish-heap

A cry as of a sea-bird in the wind

A dead leaf might as reasonably demand to return to the tree

A drowsy murmur floats into the air like thistledown

A face as imperturbable as fate

A face as pale as wax

A face tempered like steel

A fatigued, faded, lusterless air, as of a caged creature

A few pens parched by long disuse

A figure like a carving on a spire

A fluttering as of blind bewildered moths

A giant galleon overhead, looked like some misty monster of the deep

A glacial pang of pain like
the stab of a dagger of ice frozen from a poisoned well

A glance that flitted like a bird

A great moon like a red lamp in the sycamore

A grim face like a carved mask

A hand icily cold and clammy as death

A heart from which noble sentiments sprang like sparks from an anvil

A jeweler that glittered like his shop

A lady that lean'd on his arm like a queen in a fable of old fairy days

A life, a Presence, like the air

A life as common and brown and bare as the box of earth in the window there

A light wind outside the lattice swayed a branch of roses to and fro,

shaking out their perfume as from a swung censer

A lightning-phrase, as if shot from the quiver of infallible wisdom

A list of our unread books torments some of us like a list of murders

A little breeze ran through the corn like a swift serpent

A little weed-clogged ship, gray as a ghost

A long slit of daylight like a pointing finger

A memory like a well-ordered cupboard

A mighty wind, like a leviathan, plowed the brine

A mind very like a bookcase

A mystery, soft, soothing and gentle, like the whisper of a child
murmuring its happiness in its sleep

A name which sounds even now like the call of a trumpet

A note of despairing appeal which fell
like a cold hand upon one's living soul

A purpose as the steady flame

A question deep almost as the mystery of life

A quibbling mouth that snapped at verbal errors
like a lizard catching flies

A radiant look came over her face,
like a sudden burst of sunshine on a cloudy day

A reputation that swelled like a sponge

A ruby like a drop of blood

A shadow of melancholy touched her lithe fancies,
as a cloud dims the waving of golden grain

A silver moon, like a new-stamped coin, rode triumphant in the sky

A slow thought that crept like a cold worm through all his brain

A smile flashed over her face, like sunshine over a flower

A soft and purple mist like a vaporous amethyst

A soft haze, like a fairy dream, is floating over wood and stream

A soul as white as heaven

A sound like the throb of a bell

A stooping girl as pale as a pearl

A sudden sense of fear ran through her nerves like the chill of an icy wind

A sweet voice caroling like a gold-caged nightingale

A thin shrill voice like the cry of an expiring mouse

A thing of as frail enchantment as the gleam of stars upon snow

A vague thought, as elusive as the smell of a primrose

A vanishing loveliness as tender as the flush of the rose leaf
and as ethereal as the light of a solitary star

A voice as low as the sea

A voice soft and sweet as a tune that one knows

A white bird floats there, like a drifting leaf

Against a sky as clear as sapphire

Age, like winter weather

Agile as a leopard

Agitated like a storm-tossed ship

Air like wine

All around them like a forest swept the deep and
empurpled masses of her tangled hair

All like an icicle it seemed, so tapering and cold

All my life broke up, like some great river's ice at touch of spring

All silent as the sheeted dead

All sounds were lost in the whistle of air humming by
like the flight of a million arrows

All that's beautiful drifts away like the waters

All the world lay stretched before him like the open palm of his hand

All unconscious as a flower

Alone, like a storm-tossed wreck, on this night of the glad New Year

An anxiety hung like a dark impenetrable cloud

An ardent face out-looking like a star

An ecstasy which suddenly overwhelms your mind like
an unexpected and exquisite thought

An envious wind crept by like an unwelcome thought

An ideal as sublime and comprehensive as the horizon

An immortal spirit dwelt in that frail body, like a bird in an outworn cage

An impudent trick as hackneyed as conjuring rabbits out of a hat

An indefinable resemblance to a goat

An isle of Paradise, fair as a gem

An old nodding negress whose sable head shined in the sun
like a polished cocoanut

An omnibus across the bridge crawls like a yellow butterfly

An undefined sadness seemed to have fallen about her like a cloud

An unknown world, wild as primeval chaos

An unpleasing strain, like the vibration of a rope drawn out too fast

And a pinnace like a flutter'd bird came flying from afar

And a tear like silver, glistened in the corner of her eye

And all our thoughts ran into tears like sunshine into rain

And at first the road comes moving toward me, like a bride waving palms

And Dusk, with breast as of a dove, brooded

And eyes as bright as the day

And fell as cold as a lump of clay

And her cheek was like a rose

And here were forests ancient as the hills

And many a fountain, rivulet, and pond,
as clear as elemental diamond, or serene morning air

And melting like the stars in June

And night, as welcome as a friend

And silence like a poultice comes to heal the blows of sound

And spangled o'er with twinkling points, like stars

And the smile she softly uses fills the silence like a speech

As a child in play scatters the heaps of sand
that he has piled on the seashore

As a cloud that gathers her robe like drifted snow

As a flower after a drought drinks in the steady plunging rain

As a leaf that beats on a mountain

As a lion grieves at the loss of her whelps

As a man plowing all day longs for supper and welcomes sunset

As a sea disturbed by opposing winds

As amusing as a litter of likely young pigs

As arbitrary as a cyclone and as killing as a pestilence

As austere as a Roman matron

As beautiful as the purple flush of dawn

As blind as a mole

As brief as sunset clouds in heaven

As bright as sunlight on a stream

As busy as a bee

As cattle driven by a gadfly

As chimney sweepers come to dust

As clear as a whistle

As clear as the parts of a tree in the morning sun

As close as oak and ivy stand

As delicate and as fair as a lily

As delightful to the mind as cool well-water to thirsty lip

As diamond cuts diamond

As direct and unvarying as the course of a homing bird

As distinct as night and morning

As dry as desert dust

As dumb as a fish

As easily as the sun shines

As easy as a turn of the hand

As elastic as a steel spring

As extinct as the dodo

As faint as the memory of a sound

As familiar to him as his alphabet

As fatal as the fang of the most venomous snake

As fleeting and elusive as our dreams

As foam from a ship's swiftness

As fresh and invigorating as a sea-breeze

As full of eager vigor as a mountain stream

As full of spirit as a gray squirrel

As gay and busy as a brook

As gently as the flower gives forth its perfume

As gently as withered leaves float from a tree

As graceful as a bough

As grave as a judge

As great as the first day of creation

As high as heaven

As I dropped like a bolt from the blue

As I dwelt like a sparrow among the spires

As if a door were suddenly left ajar into some world unseen before

As impossible as to count the stars in illimitable space

As in the footsteps of a god

As inaccessible to his feet as the clefts and gorges of the clouds

As inexorable as the flight of time

As innocent as a new laid egg

As iridescent as a soap bubble

As locusts gather to a stream before a fire

As mellow and deep as a psalm

As men strip for a race, so must an author strip for the race with time

As merry as bees in clover

As nimble as water

As one who has climbed above the earth's eternal snowline
and sees only white peaks and pinnacles

As pale as any ghost

As patient as the trees

As quick as the movement of some wild animal

As radiant as the rose

As readily and naturally as ducklings take to water

As reticent as a well-bred stockbroker

As ruthlessly as the hoof of a horse tramples on a rose

As shallow streams run dimpling all the way

As simple as the intercourse of a child with its mother

As sleep falls upon the eyes of a child
tired with a long summer day of eager pleasure and delight

As some vast river of unfailing source

As stars that shoot along the sky

As still as a stone

As stupid as a sheep

As sudden as a dislocated joint slipping back into place

As summer winds that creep from flower to flower

As supple as a step-ladder

As swaggering and sentimental as a penny novellete
[novellete = short novel]

As swift as thought

As the accumulation of snowflakes makes the avalanche

As the bubble is extinguished in the ocean

As the dew upon the roses warms and melts the morning light

As the fair cedar, fallen before the breeze,
lies self-embalmed amidst the moldering trees

As the light straw flies in dark'ning whirlwinds

As the lightning cleaves the night

As the loud blast that tears the skies

As the slow shadows of the pointed grass mark the eternal periods

As those move easiest who have learn'd to dance

As though a rose should shut, and be a bud again

As unapproachable as a star

As weird as the elfin lights

As well try to photograph the other side of the moon

At extreme tension, like a drawn bow

Away he rushed like a cyclone

Awkward as a cart-horse


See also these useful collections of phrases, similes and word groups:

  • Prepositional Phrases - Sets of paired adjectives that together add up to more than the sum of their parts.

  • Significant Phrases - aired nouns, adjectives and adverbs, which together create an impactful and vivid image of the thought you want to convey.

  • Public Speaking Sample Phrases - huge collection of examples and phrases are designed to make your oral presentations and debates more impactful and clear.

  • Business Phrases - These phrases will help you say what you mean with emphasis and let you stand out from the usual corporate memo and report.

  • Conversational Phrases - parts of sentences that you can use as building blocks for larger conversations.

  • Striking Similes - similes and figures of speech that you can use to make your writing more emphatic and vivid.

  • Literary Expressions - a vast collection of literary phrases, allusions and similes that you can use to spice up your writing and make it more impactful and noteworthy.

  • Impressive Phrases - These phrases and groups of related adjectives are meant to make an impact on the reader or listener.

  • Felicitous Phrases - Groupings of three words that fit perfectly together and use repetition to create emphasis and striking imagery.

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