Physical Characteristics Description Guide

The following list of physical characteristic descriptors help you find different ways to describe parts of the body for your character description, mob descriptions, or characters in stories. If you think of any physical descriptors to add, let us know.

Face & Head


Complexion and Skin-Type

acned: pimpled
albino: (also known as achromasia) no skin pigment (white, colorless,
sometimes blue because of the veins)
alligator: (or any other reptile) coarse, rough, or scaly skin
blanched: white or pale-
bleached: same as above – can be used with any color to imply a
shade of the color that is severely brightened or washed-out.
blemished: imperfections such as acne, boils, moles, scars…
blotchy: splotched, mottled, irregular patches of color.
blush: red or pink, almost as though embarassed. See also: flushed,
burlap: or any other material – rough, coarse, also the color (light
tan in this case)
cadaverous: corpse-like, leaden, cyanotic, colorless
chapped: caused to open in slits or chinks, split, caused
to crack or become rough.
cratered: deeply pitted from acne or illness. See also: pitted,
cyanotic: gray or bluish tinge created from lack of oxygen in the
dirty: not clean, covered with dirt
dusty: covered with dust
doughy: the color of bread dough. resembling the consistency of dough.
downy: very soft and smooth
fair: light-colored
filthy: not clean, dirty
florid: flushed red, pink, or rosy.
flushed: also: flush – red in the face, blush.
flustered: see also ruddy, healthy red
greasy: oily
jaundiced: yellowish complexion also affecting the whites of the eyes.
a condition caused by illness
leaden: the color of lead, dark gray.
leathery: tough, brown, hide-like skin
livid: grayish-blue or lead-colored. Black and blue like a bruise.
corpses can be this color because of pooled, oxygen-depleted
moled: having moles.
mottled: blotchy. See also: splotchy
nubby: rough.
oily: greasy
pale: blanched, white
pallid: pale, faint, or wan
pasty: like paste in color or texture (white or yellow)
pitted: see cratered
pocked: see pitted, cratered
pustuled: with large sores filled with puss (see acned)
sandpaper: rough, coarse.
scarred: cut, marred, disfigured
shriveled: weathered, wizened, withered, wrinkled
splotchy: irregular, blotchy. See also: mottled.
sun-browned: suntanned
sunburned: red. See also: lobster
swarthy: a dark complexion.
wan: pale.
warty: having warts
waxy: pasty, cadaverous, greasy, or oily.
weatherbeaten: weathered by years in the sun. Leathery. Like an
old boot.
weathered: see weatherbeaten.
withered: dried up, weathered, shriveled. Without freshness
wizened: same as withered
wrinkled: wrinkled skin.. from age.


age spots: liver spots. Brown spots on the face and hands. Found
most often on the elderly.
lentigo: a brownish spot unrelated to a freckle.
nevus: any birthmark
piebald skin: patches of skin lacking pigment- also known as vitiligo
wine stain: a wine-colored birthmark (like Mikhail Gorbachev)
rosacea: small pimples and a raw, red look. Like the noses of
alcoholics. Common of people originating from the British
Isles, and people who blush easily.
vitiligo: see wine stain
warts: raised patches.


Eye Type, Shape, and Features

almond: almond-shaped.
beady: small, round
bloodshot: red and irritated
bug: protruding, see bulging
bulging: see bug
bullish: fierce, used as a descriptive term.
button: small and round or large and round.
cadaverous: corpse-like, leaden, or cyanotic, colorless
cataract: a clouding of the lens
close-set: eyes that are close together but not quite crossed.
crescent: half-moon shaped, either naturally or when grinning.
A good way to describe a squint.
cross-eyed: opposite of cock-eyed
cock-eyed: opposite of cross-eyed, eyes look different directions.
cunieform: as though drawn on the face with a chisel.
cyanotic: gray or bluish tinge created from lack of oxygen in the
deep-set: set into the skull, usually caused by a prominent brow.
dewdrop: the shape of a teardrop
dull: glassy
egg-shaped: large and ovoid (shaped like an egg)
esotropic: one eye looks towards the nose, the other looks straight.
exotropic: one eye looks away from the nose, the other looks straight.
falcon: small, round, dark eyes; bird-like
feline: cat-like with lentil-shaped pupils
fish: glassy and emotionless
gimlet: piercing, penetrating eyes
glass eye: a false eye of any color
goggle: prominent or bulging. See also: rolling eyes
hollowed eye sockets: descriptive for deep-set eyes. Common of the
hooded: lids covering part or half of the eyes. Sleepy-eyed,
jackal-like: cold and indifferent. Predatory.
jaundiced: yellowish complexion also affecting the whites of the eyes.
a condition caused by illness
lenticular: shaped like a lintil or bioconvex lens. The most common
eye shape.
livid: grayish-blue or lead-colored. Black and blue like a bruise.
corpses can be this color because of pooled, oxygen-depleted
luminous: reflecting light at night (like a cat or dog when you shine
a flashlight on them) the reflective layer itself is called
the tapetum.
lunulate: crescent or moon-shaped.
moody: darkly colored, multi-colored.
nacreous: pearled, opalescent, milky, iridescent (multiple colors in
the light)
owlish: wide, round, alert.
pale: blanched, white
pea: tiny and round.
pop: protuberant, or bulging.
protuberant: see pop
rheumy: wayery, moist, having a thin film.
saucer: large, goggle-like eyes.
slanted: angled upward at the edges.
slitted: narrow, like slits.
sloe: large and dark, almond-shaped.
squinty: slitted, squinted, crescent-shaped as though with difficulty
strabismus: the condition of squinting (see squinty)
stormy: of shifting/swirling, or mixed colors.
sunken: deep eye sockets.
tenebrous: dark, gloomy, can imply sunken or sullen-looking
variegated: flecked with various colors.
walleyed: large, glossy eyes. Also a white iris (part of the eye that
is usually colored)
wide-set: eyes that are set wide apart.
wood eye: a false eye of wood, painted any color


aquiline: hooked or curved, like an eagle’s beak
beaked: like a bird’s beak, beakish, hawkish, hawk,
hooked, (see aquiline)
bent: a malformed nose, or one that has been broken.
bob: knoblike
boxer’s: broken, misshapen (pugilist is another word for boxer)
broken: misshapen, bent.
bulbous: large, shaped like a bulb
button: round and small
chiseled: looking like it has been cut from stone– smooth, angular
almost as though it has been sculpted
crooked: skewed, not straight
flaring: flaring nostrils
flat: a nose that is flat on the face.
gourdlike: warty or gnarled, misshapen, like a gourd.
hawk: like a beak, aquiline, hawkish, beaked, beakish
high-cut: nostrils cut high in the nose
hog-nosed: like a pig-snout, pushed in and up.
hooked: curved, aquiline, beaked, hawkish, beakish
pug: short, flattened, turned up at the end. Like button, only
not cute.
pig-nosed: self explanatory
roman: having a high and distinctive bridge
skewed: crooked nose
snout: snout-nosed – like a pig or a dog- flat, wide, large
nostrils, turned up on the end
turned-up nose: self explanatory


beaded: woven and/or threaded with beads.
brassy: when applied to any color, having an almost metallic
sheen to it.
billowing: airy, flowing wide
bird’s nest: ratty, matted, like a bird’s nest
blonde: blonde hair
boyish: cut short, looking like a young male
braided: in braids
brunette: brown hair
brushed-back: you get the idea
bug-ridden: filled with bugs, lice
bun: rolled into a knot on the back of the head.
bushy: much hair, flying in all directions
chignon: a knot or roll, twisted into a circle
or figure eight at the back of the head
clean: not dirty
coarse: rough, grainy
coiled: a coil of plaits, worn on back, side, or
top of head
combed: neatly kempt
crimped: wavy
curly: with many curls
dirty: covered in filth, not clean
downy: very soft, smooth
dread-locked: allowed to cluster into long, thin locks.
see also: dreaded
dreaded: see: dread-locked
fair-haired: light-haired. Blonde, light brown, etc.
fiery-haired: red-haired
filthy: dirty, oily
fine: thin, soft
fluffy: bouncy
flyaway: going in all directions
frayed: think unravelled yarn, frizzy
frazzled: unkempt, frizzy
frizzy: unkempt, flying in all directions – Think unravelled yarn
greasy: oily, dirty
grizzled: coarse-haired.
hoary: old, dry, frazzled
kinky: in tight curls or knots
knotted: worn in a knot or top-knot, also can be tangled
limp: lifeless, hanging loosely, drably
long: not short. Can also apply a length (shoulder-length,
arm-length, etc)
lustrous: shining
matted: tangled, knotted.
mohawked: shaven on either side with a central tuft of hair
usually made to stand on end.
nappy: tightly curled, almost looking like knots- see kinky
neatly kempt: see combed
oily: greasy
pig-tailed: pulled back into two tails, one on either side
(or front and back) of the head.
platinum-blonde: white-blonde
plaited: braided or woven in intricate patterns
pony-tailed: tied back into a single tail at the back or
side of the head.
premature gray: gray before one’s time (see: Steve Martin)
ratty: matted.
red-head: red hair
ringlets: ringlet-curls
ropey: having the texture of rope, thick, frayed
rows: braids in rows all over the head
scraggly: see shaggy
shaggy: unkempt, sticking out in all directions, much hair
shaven: cut short with a razor so that only stubble remains
shorn: see: shaved
short: not long, lengths may also be applied (shoulder-length,
ear-length, chin-length, etc)
slicked: matted back into a flat. Greased back
spikey: spiked, sticking up and stiff
straight: without curl
stringy: like twine.
stubbly: see: shaved, shorn
tangled: matted, not combed
top-knotted: shaved all over save for a portion on the top or
back of the head that is allowed to grow long and is
sometimes braided or left long.
tow-headed: pale, white, platinum-blonde-haired.
wavy: between curls and straight
wild: tangled, flying in all directions, untamable
wiry: like wire
wispy: thin, sparse, going in all directions
wooly: like wool
woven: plaited or braided in a weave.

Facial Hair

(note: some of these may be best used in the main desc – reserve
the shorter ones below for the sdescs)
a la Souvaroff beard/moustache: a moustache/beard in which the
moustache is joined to the side-burns and the chin is left
anchor beard: a short, pointed beard worn at the edge of the chin
with a fringe extending up to the center of the bottom lip.
Assyrian beard: a long-beard with plaits or spiral culs.
barbiche beard: a small tuft of hair under the bottom lip. Also
known as a barbula.
belgrave beard: neatly groomed, mid-length beard. Cut round,
square, or pointed.
burnside beard: the moustache joins with the side-burns and jaw
is left clean shaven.
cadiz beard: pointed, mid-length beard.
cathedral beard: full beard split into two tails at the bottom, each
with a point.
chevron (moustache): an inverted V
cookie-duster moustache: a humorous term for a moustache which hangs
low over the lips ‘dusting’ the food intaken.
forked beard: see also: cathedral beard
fu manchu (beard/moustache): a long, sweeping, and thin moustache
allowed to droop low past the chin. Worn with a narrow beard.
goatee: a small, goat-like beard
grizzled or grizzly beard: flecked with gray or gray.
handlebar moustache: a long moustache with ends turned up at the
edges to resemble the handlebars of a bike.
hebraic beard: full, long, untrimmed beard.
lincolnesque beard: mid-length beard worn with sideburns but without
a moustache (just like President Lincoln)
muttonchops: thick sideburns that are made to look like a haunch
of mutton in shape.
peach-fuzz: light fur. pubescent whiskers.
rat’s nest beard: unkempt, ungroomed beard.
regent (moustache): neat, resembling a curved letter M.
screw beard: short beard that is twisted or twined.
spade beard: round or pointed beard in the shape of a spade.
stiletto beard: long, slender, pointy beard.
toothbrush (moustache): moustache like adolph hitler or Charlie
Chaplin also known as a ‘square button’
walrus (moustache): see also: cookie duster. Like the cookie
duster, but more extreme. a very long moustache.
waxed moustache: curled tips, waxed to hold its shape.
winged moustache: cut to look like bird wings.


angular: pressed into an angle. narrow, pinched face.
When seen from above, a teardrop.
aristocratic (face): features as like those who are noble.
arrow-headed: pointed like an arrow with a wide jaw.
asymmetrical face/head: having a face or head that is not
the same on both sides.
bat-faced: having pinched features, beady eyes, and a pugged
beefy: big-faced, muscular.
bird-like: pointed, like a bird. Often with a beak-like nose.
boyish face: having the features of a young boy.
careworn face: showing the wearing effects of overwork or care or
child-like face: small features, soft skin, generally appearing
young, like a child
cherubic face: like a child, a baby, or an angel. Small features,
healthy and smooth skin.
chiseled face: appearing to be cut out of stone. Very defined
lines. Sharp features.
comely face: a face with features pleasing to the eye.
domed: a large, round top of the head
doughy: having the color and consistency of dough. Flabby.
drawn (face): subjected to great tension; stretched tight.
See also: careworn
egg-shaped: ovular, round, like an egg
fat-faced: with large cheeks, round-headed.
feline face: with the features of a cat (quirri)
fleshy-faced: having an abundance of extra skin.
gibbous: Swelling by a regular curve or surface; protuberant;
convex; as, the moon is gibbous between the half-moon and
the full moon.
haggard (face): Having the expression of one wasted by want
or suffering; hollow-eyed; having the features
distorted or wasted, or anxious in appearance; as,
haggard features, eyes.
handsome: rugged, good-looking, look of the ideal man
heart-shaped face: shaped like a heart.
high-domed: a large domed head
high-forehead: hairline that is high on the head
lined (face): wrinkled, covered with lines.
low-forehead: hairline that is low on the face.
moon-faced: Having a face that has the shape of a moon either
in profile or head-on.
narrow: a thin head where the ears are closer together.
oval: see also egg-shaped, shape of an oval.
pinched: see also: narrow. Appearing as though the head has
been pinched side-to-side or up-and-down.
protruding brow: a brow that juts forth.
round: rounded, often associated with fat-cheeks.
sculpted features: appearing to be moulded by an artist.
sloped forehead: a forehead that slopes sharply back instead
of rising and curving gently.
square: a squared jaw and face to make the head seem square.
symmetrical face/head: having a face or head that is the same
on both sides.
timeworn: showing the strains of time. Wrinkled, old.
wedge-shaped: shaped like a wedge of cheese. Sharp chin.
wrinkle-faced: wrinkled, lined. wizened.


bowed: like a bow (the kind you shoot arrows with), curved.
cruel: also phrased as “set in a cruel line.” Dictates a
harsh line, very thin.
cleft-lip: also known as harelip, where a part of the lip is
drawn sharply upward as though a hook had been set
in it and pulled toward the nose.
dour: with wrinkles set around the top and bottom as though
one were aged and sucking on lemons.
deformed: cleft-lipped, twisted, oddly shaped, wrong in some way.
firm lips: rounded and thick.
full lips: rounded and thick.
hare-lip: see cleft-lip.
misshapen: oddly shaped, deformed
pallid: pale.
protruding: lips that stick out.
puckered: as though one were sucking on a lemon. Alternately
as though one were perpetually offering a kiss.
rosepetal/rosebud: small lips that are set in a round shape.
sensual: curved gently and soft. Lips that evoke naughty
thoughts 😉


angular chin: a pointed chin.
cleft chin: a chin with a divot in it, appearing to be two chin
double chin: a chin with a mirroring pouch of skin underneath
the chin so that it appears that a person has two chins.
heavy jaw: a jaw that appears to hold much weight
pointed chin: a chin that has a sharp angle.
receding chin: a chin that is not prominent or falls back.
round chin: a chin that is round
slack-jawed: a jaw which is unable, for some reason, to appear
completely closed.
square-jaw: squared, sharply angular around the ears.


dimpled: with dimples in the cheeks at either side of a smile
flabby: fat. See also: fat faced (under Head/Face)
freckled: flecks of darker (or lighter) colored skin which dot
the face or other of the body.
high cheekbones: like a Native American, the cheekbones are high
on the face.
hollow: sunken cheeks with dark shadows on them.
pendulous: flabby, hanging loose, swaying (as a pendulum)
pouchy: appearing to have pouches on either side of the face.


buck-teeth: front two teeth stick out far over the bottom teeth.
crooked: not straight.
fangs: sharp, pointed, and pronounced
gap-toothed: with gaps between the teeth (see Dave Letterman)
jagged: triangular in shape, varying in height.
pearly: white.
pitted: not well cared for. Full of cavities.
pointy: with sharp points.
saw-toothed: jagged, like a saw.
snaggle-toothed: jagged and crooked. prominently so.
stained: having the color of some often-eaten substance.
tusks: overly-large teeth (think walrus)
underbite: like a bull-dog, where the bottom teeth stick out.

Body & Limbs


anorexic: horribly thin, as though having a fear of eating.
athletic: having undergone considerable activity and maintaining
barrel-chested: having a broad chest that is round as a barrel
beefy: muscular and heavily built, burly, husky
bent: stooped
bosomy: having large breasts.
bow-spined: stopped, bent, having a back that is bowed into a
permanently curved shape so that the head hangs low.
brawny: having physical strength and weight; rugged and
burly: muscular and heavily built
buxom: (of a woman’s body) having pleasing curves, curvaceous,
curvy, bosomy, full-bosomed, voluptuous. Also,
a kind way of saying ‘slightly fat’. chubby, plump.
chubby: slightly overweight, having ample curves.
colossal: so great in size or force or extent as to elicit awe
corpulent: Very fat; obese
curvaceous: having pleasing and ample curves.
curvy: large hips, thighs, curvy, buxom.
deformed: Unnatural or distorted in form; having a deformity;
misshapen; disfigured; as, a deformed person; a deformed
delicate: small boned and framed, appearing fragile.
diminutive: very small.
dumpy: Short and fat or sturdy; dumpy; podgy; as, a short, pudgy
little man
elephantine: of great mass; huge and bulky
emaciated: very thin especially from disease or hunger or cold
fat: having much flesh (especially fat), having a relatively
large diameter, overly high body weight for one’s height.
fleshy: usually describes a large person who is fat but has a large
frame to carry it
fragile: see delicate.
full-bosomed: see: bosomy
full-figured: having a large frame. Well filled-out. buxom.
gangly: tall and thin and having long slender limbs, ungracefully
tall and thin.
gargantuan: of great mass; huge and bulk
gaunt: very thin especially from disease or hunger or cold
gnarled: used of old persons or old trees; covered with knobs or
haggard: Having the expression of one wasted by want or suffering;
hollow-eyed; having the features distorted or wasted, or
anxious in appearance; as, haggard features, eyes
hunchbacked: Having a humped back
hunched: having the back and shoulders rounded; not erect
husky: Powerful; strong; burly
lanky: tall and thin and having long slender limbs. gangly,
rangy, ungracefully tall and thin.
lavishly endowed: generously gifted with weight, bosom, or
other features.
lean: thin
leggy: having long legs and having those legs be the most
notable feature.
lissome: gracefully slender; moving and bending with ease
lithe: see lissome. svelte, supple, slender, lithesome
lumpy: Full of lumps, or small compact masses. Often used
to describe someone who is fat.
malnourished: gaunt, thin, emaciated.
muscled: covered with musculature.
obese: excessively fat; “a weighty man”
palsied: affected with palsy or uncontrollable tremor
paunchy: having a large belly
petite: small, short, little-boned. thin, delicate.
plump: see chubby.
portly: Bulky; corpulent
pot-bellied: having a large belly, round, as a pot.
pudgy: Short and fat or sturdy; dumpy; podgy; as, a short, pudgy
little man
reedy: resembling a reed or twig in being slender and fragile
rickety: inclined to shake as from weakness or defect
robust: strong. Evincing strength, indicating vigorous health,
sinewy; muscular; vigorous; sound; as, a robust body;
robust youth; robust health
roly-poly: fat, round.
rotund: fat, round.
rugged: sturdy and strong in constitution or construction;
runty: well below average height, of small size.
scrawny: Meager; thin; rawboned; bony, unattractively thin
sinewy: Well braced with, or as if with, muscular strength
skeletal: thin as a skeleton. “Skin and bones”
sleek: well-groomed and neatly tailored; especially too
slight: Not stout or heavy; slender
slim: Not stout or heavy; slender
slinky: Thin; lank
spindly: long and lean (usually applied to limbs)
squat: Short and thick, like the figure of an animal squatting
stacked: well or attractively formed with respect to physique
stalwart: having rugged physical strength; inured to fatigue or
statuesque: of size and dignity suggestive of a statue.
Partaking of, or exemplifying, the characteristics of a
statue; having the symmetry, or other excellence, of a
statue artistically made.
stocky: heavy and compact in form or stature
stooped: To bend the upper part of the body downward and forward;
to bend or lean forward; to incline forward in standing or
walking; to assume habitually a bent position
stout: Firm; tough; materially strong; enduring. Also
Large; bulky; corpulent.
strapping: muscular and heavily built
stubby: short and blunt
svelte: showing a high degree of refinement and the assurance
that comes from wide social experience. Also, graceful,
slender, moving with ease.
tall: not short.
thickset: Having a short, thick body; stout
thin: light of weight. Not fat. slender.
towering: very tall, imposingly so.
voluptuous: see buxom.
waspish: Resembling a wasp in form; having a slender waist, like a
well-muscled: covered with much muscle.
whip-thin: very thin. thin as a whip.
willowy: slender and graceful
wiry: Capable of endurance; tough; sinewy; as, a wiry frame or
constitution. lean and sinewy.


bony, broad, delicate, drooping (head sunk down into them),
massive, round, square, stooped

Hands and Arms

long (fingers, arms)
arthritic (fingers, hands): knotted, gnarled, not easily used.
gnarled: knotted, twisted, deformed.
large biceps
bony, stick-like
calloused (hands/fingers)
chapped hands
claw-like fingers/nails,
corded arm muscles
flabby arms
hairy hands/arms
delicate hands/arms
well-manicured hands
polydactyl hands/feet: having more than the usual number of
fingers and toes
pudgy hands/arms
red and scoured hands/arms
stringily muscled arms
stubby fingers
banged-up hands


(Note: due to the fact you will likely be wearing clothing over
this part of the body, the general size of the chest may be
all that is noticeable to an observer. hair and definition may
not be known to all)
caved-n chest
chiseled pecs: (pecs being the boob muscles 😉
defined pecs
buoyant (seeming to float)
jutting cones


love handled
over the belt
swinging belly
washboard stomach


bandy-legged (bow-legged)
bow-legged: legs that bow outward at the knees: <>
knock-kneed: the knees bang against one another: ><
leggy: long legs
spindly: long, thin legs
thick: large legs.


club-footed: a condition where the person is forced to walk on
the side of one foot.
pigeon-toed: the toes point together: \/
polydactyl: having more than the standard number of toes


boy, girl, man, woman, elf, dwarf, felarae, giant, orc, elf,
youth, figure, human, elf-woman, dwarven-woman, etc., child, teenager,
male, female, she-elf, she-centaur, he-aeromis, etc. damsel, waif, lass, femme,
hydrel, maid, elder, geezer, crone, matron, spinster