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crossword clue adjectives

Top 7 Adjective Clues in Crossword Puzzles

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Adjectives are the words in a given sentence that describe the noun. Usually, adjectives are colors, shape, size, material, or any kind of attribute. There are multiple exceptions and rules as to what makes an adjective. A table might be a coffee table, for example, but the word “coffee” is not inherently an adjective until placed in such a context. Adjectives also make great clues for crossword puzzles, as they can act as synonyms or specific attributes to the answer.

“Butterfingered”, for example, is a fairly good synonym to CLUMSY, or “most insignificant” is a good description for TEENSIEST.


That said, some of these answers have very little to do with their corresponding clues. As such, it might behoove you to use our lovely Crossword Solver. Discerning the pattern in your clues and their answers will help you determine the style of your crossword and will make it much easier to recognize similar clues later on. Knowing that RAKISH actually means to have a “dashing” or “slightly disreputable quality or appearance”, for example, might help you find the answer to “debonair” or “Chris Hemsworth.”

Adjective Crossword Clue – Sporty

Despite popular belief, SPORTY doesn’t just mean you’re really into tracksuits and watch The Royal Tenenbaums on repeat because you like ADIDAS. “Sporty” can also refer to clothes that are “casual yet attractively stylish,” according to the OED.

I would say this is a very old definition of “sporty”, or rather, that Americans certainly do not use “sporty” to describe someone who is STYLISH. If Americans were to use “sporty” in reference to clothes, we would be referring to someone wearing appropriately athletic clothes, like yoga pants or a tracksuit.

sporty man
Playing basketball is sporty.

Sporty Answer: Rakish

I find the answer RAKISH to be rather far-fetched. Rakish is supposed to mean devilishly handsome, not “stylish” and wearing athletic clothing. Though I suppose a number of attractive actors could undermine such a statement easily and be both rakish and sporty. Perhaps therein lies the reasoning for this answer to “sporty.”

Adjective Crossword Clue – Nimble

NIMBLE -- in the literal sense -- means to be “quick and light in movement or action” (OED, “Nimble”). This is certainly the source of the longest answer below. “Nimble”, however, also has quite a few accurate synonyms, so be sure to use our Crossword Solver to double check your answer. “Nimble” also means to comprehend something or think quickly; more synonyms to add to the list of possible answers.

Nimble Longest Answer: Light on One’s Feet

Unlike “rakish” and “sporty”, this answer is much less confusing and definitely another way of saying “nimble.” This answer is something to remember if you want to up your word count -- I mean, fill in a long crossword space. At 15 characters without spaces and apostrophe, this answer will probably be on a very large crossword or the only answer quite this long.

Adjective Crossword Clue -- Most Tiring

Perhaps a great crossword clue, but “most tiring” is by no means proper grammar in English -- at least not anymore. It might have been something commonly seen in the elegant prose of the Victorian period, but modern English speakers prefer to say things like EXHAUSTING or DRAINING.

adjective exhausting
To be exhausted

Most Tiring Answer: Hardest

That said, it seems like the best answer for “most tiring” is the least creative. Luckily, crosswords are not known for their clever word choice. All crosswords need are just vague enough clues to make the answer that much more difficult and “most tiring.”

Adjective Crossword Clue -- Most Insignificant

“Insignificant” means exactly as the prefix implies, something that is not significant. To be insignificant is to lack any remarkable or unique trait, much like one ant among thousands. A single ant means nothing in the context of its colony, it cannot sustain itself alone.

Woody's Monologue from Antz

Most Insignificant Longest Answer: Teensiest

If one ant is most insignificant, then the TEENSIEST ant is minuscule in comparison. Though size often has very little to do with an object’s significance, it is a common association before the facts are known. During the Scramble for Africa, for example, the British attempted to justify their actions by associating skull size with intelligence. Anyone with a prominent forehead and generally large head was considered highly intellectual. Of course, the color of their skin had to be white, but that was only one of the many flaws with that theory.

Adjective Crossword Clue – Stubborn

“Stubborn” is not a particularly vague adjective, meaning simply the determination not to change one’s attitude or position on something. A zealot, for example, will be especially STUBBORN in their beliefs. Stubbornness can also be applied to objects that refuse to be moved from place to another; a piano is a stubborn thing to move or the common cold is a persistently stubborn runny nose.

mule stubborn
A mule is sometimes stubborn.

Stubborn Longest Answer: Recalcitrant

If you can go from stubborn to defiant, then you can go from stubborn to RECALCITRANT. It means to be obstinately uncooperative, especially towards authority or discipline. That said, “recalcitrant” is normally used as a kind of descriptor to call someone. It would be grammatically correct to begin “feeling recalcitrant”, for example, but it would be more acceptable to say you are an “angry and recalcitrant” person.

Adjective Crossword Clue – Impudent

In following the theme of defiant words on this list we come to “impudent”, meaning to intentionally not give someone the respect they are apparently due. Admittedly, not many folks use “impudent” in everyday colloquial English. It is a word reserved for pretentious people in movies or lofty British romance novels.

Impudent Longest Answer: Procacious

While one is being impudent, one is usually being a little PROCACIOUS as well, meaning to be insolent or arrogant in tone or attitude. “Procacious” is not to be confused with “precocious,” which is to develop certain abilities or inclinations at an earlier age than is usual or expected.

Adjective Crossword Clue – Capricious

Finally, a word that can’t be routed back to “defiance!” CAPRICIOUS means to be prone to very sudden and illogical changes in mood or behavior, often without any discernible rules. You could call a forest fire capricious, for example, because you can never properly know where it will go.

Capricious Longest Answer: Whimsical

WHIMSICAL is being capricious, but in a cute way. To be whimsical is to be especially fanciful in a playful and appealing way. A forest fire certainly isn’t whimsical, but a cat or summer breeze could be described thus.

image sources
titlepicture -- via getstencil for word-grabber.com
picture 1 -- via getstencil for word-grabber.com
picture 2 -- via getstencil for word-grabber.com
picture 3 -- Lucille Keith with midget mule, 1939, Department of Conservation Photograph Collection, https://tnsos.org/tsla/imagesearch/citation.php?ImageID=19736

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