characters / descriptors / writers resources / writing

How To Describe Noses, Mouths, Legs, and more

Can you describe body parts without being boring?

Can you describe body parts without being boring?

I got a lot of feedback on my post on physical descriptors for characters, A Nose by Any Other Name. Here are a few more that will jog your inspiration:


  • Brush of make-up and light touch of lipstick

Mouth, neck and chin

  • Square chin
  • Strong chin
  • hanging jowls
  • slack, hanging mouth
  • long neck
  • Adam’s apple
  • Neck muscles were drumhead tight
  • Beard gone to white
  • Thick brown mustache gone to gray

Legs, feet

  • bowlegged
  • twig-like calves
  • Pink toenails
  • lateral displacement of the big toe bunions
  • nails bitten and dirty
  • thickened yellow nails

Hands, fingers

  • fingers as thick as sausage—sausage fingers
  • lighter patch of skin on third finger
  • nicotine stains between the first and second finger of his left hand
  • wrist cords bulged like roots of oak


  • Bald spot on top
  • Bushy eyebrows
  • eyebrows of white steel wool
  • wore a ballcap
  • a single bushy bar above the eyes


  • Corn silk hair
  • Blue-black hair
  • shoulder-length silver hair with a jaunty clip, dark rimmed glasses, smooth unlined face
  • Blonde hair trimmed close to the scalp
  • Shaggy white hair
  • Teased platinum hair
  • Hair in a neat ponytail
  • Unruly shock of prematurely white hair
  • Cowlick
  • bad case of dandruff
  • light brushcut hair
  • clipped her hair back in its usual twist
  • salt-and-pepper hair was wet and freshly combed
  • Hair tied in a severe school-marmish bun
  • Hair a light sandy brown


  • rashes
  • Beauty marks
  • tattoo of…
  • lentigo
  • Leathery skin
  • Spongy skin
  • Steroidal with bad skin
  • Walnut dark skin that glowed
  • Brush of make-up and light touch of lipstick
  • Dimple


  • The pale curve of her slender neck and the way her long dark hair draped down her back
  • looked like hell—purple bags under her eyes, fingernails bitten to the nub


  • Thickening at the waist

Shoulders, chest

  • Big slope-shouldered man
  • Wide sloping shoulders
  • broad shouldered
  • Plump shoulders
  • Bowed back
  • Burly man with shoulders like a ledge
  • Ramrod straight and rock-jawed, with gunmetal eyes and shoulders that seemed mitered at perfect ninety-degree angles
  • Tall and thin and wearing her hair shorter than the last time I’d seen her


  • Comfortable looking 60
  • lissome body
  • Wolfish boy
  • Solidly built
  • Chubby, pear-shaped man
  • Rail thin
  • Muscle-bound
  • lean muscular build
  • Almost fat, always slovenly dressed
  • he was taller than he looked and bigger
  • Nearly mythic ugliness
  • Imposing nearly to the point of intimidation
  • A hundred pounds overweight with an orange streak in her hair
  • handsome but certainly not memorable
  • Pushing seventy
  • Fit looking man in a tattered straw cowboy hat jammed atop his sun-bleached blond hair
  • Heavy-boned farm boy
  • Short, overweight black woman
  • Big guy, white, maybe forty. Black hair. Wide neck
  • Thick man with shabby hair
  • Talk, spike-straight guy with a pinched face
  • Medium height, pale, stick-thin and leggy with a gamin face under a layered mass of long black hair

Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. She is webmaster for six blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, a columnist for and TeachHUB, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing TeachersCisco guest blogger, Technology in Education featured blogger, and IMS tech expert. She is  the editor of a K-6 technology curriculumK-8 keyboard curriculumK-6 Digital Citizenship curriculum, creator of technology training books for middle school and ebooks on technology in education. Currently, she’s editing a thriller that should be out to publishers next summer. Contact Jacqui at her writing office or her tech lab, Ask a Tech Teacher.

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21 thoughts on “How To Describe Noses, Mouths, Legs, and more

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  6. “a single bushy bar above the eyes” – you know what they say about never trusting anyone with one eyebrow (LOL – maybe it’s my saying!).

    What a fantastic collection, Jacqui – well done! 😀


  7. “The pale curve of her slender neck and the way her long dark hair draped down her back” was a turn on as he watched her, wondering if his “thick brown mustache gone to gray” would not be attractive to her.


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