I am looking for a term meaning the use of an angry tone of voice without the raising or lowering of one's volume. Something like yell, but without the implication of raising one's voice.

I'm hoping for something general. Words like snarl and snap don't work in all contexts, so I'm looking for something better.

I'm looking for something that might fill this sentence: "You're ______ again, Dave." as a speaker is counseling a person with anger management issues.

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    @RobertCartaino: it seems out of the spirit of the whole SE thing for a moderator like yourself, without a vested -content specific- interest, to be autocratically closing questions. I think the 5 vote rule handles these situations just fine.
    – Mitch
    Dec 21, 2011 at 18:42
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    Also @RobertCartaino, disregarding the unilateral-closing-by-an-outsider issue, this question clearly shows effort, and specifies exactly what context he wants to use the word in. In other words, isn't this precisely the sort of single-word-request we want to encourage?
    – Marthaª
    Dec 21, 2011 at 21:22
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    I very strongly disagree with this question being, once again, unilaterally closed by an outsider. @JeffAtwood: exactly what is so earth-shatteringly wrong about an answer that is a (gasp, horrors) list of words?
    – Marthaª
    Dec 30, 2011 at 14:34
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    @JeffAtwood, if you don't think any of the answers are good, write a better one. If you can't, at least leave the question open so that someone else can write a better answer. I think the criteria here are very clear; the reason the answers aren't better is that it's a hard question. Is StackExchange only for the easy-to-answer fluff questions?
    – Marthaª
    Dec 30, 2011 at 17:23
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    @mar there's no objective reality here; we are guessing as to whatever the op feels is "best" which is why the accepted answer is ... a list of guesses. Adding more guesses isn't improving the Internet for anyone. In fact the accepted answer is basically a thesaurus entry... That is not what we want English.se to be. Dec 30, 2011 at 17:36

6 Answers 6


Tone-of-voice words include irate, cross, indignant, nettled, riled, heated, incensed, biting, resentful, provoked, imprecation. Examples: "'You're late!', she said hotly" and "'Come here,' he said crossly."

Looking specifically at verbs we have fume, rave, grumble, chide, rebuke, chafe, fret, remonstrate, recriminate, decry. Examples: "'What have you done now?", she raved", "'There's none for me,' he grumbled" and "'I'm so lame", she fumed." Also see list of 214 words some believe can be used in place of said.

  • I'm going through them. I like decry but it's not exactly the meaning I'm looking for. fume too. I'm looking for something that might fill this sentence: "You're XXX again, Dave." as a speaker is counseling a person with anger management issues. I think incensed is the closest to the emotional state I'm going for with the word. Thanks! Dec 18, 2011 at 5:27
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    @DracoRo'Tor - Maybe try "You're overheating again, Dave", or "getting riled up", or "getting wrought-up" (agitated). Dec 18, 2011 at 7:05
  • Although they closed it on me, this was the post I would have gone with as my answer, since your remonstrate led me to Vilipend and exectrate on a thesaurus website. Between the three, I think I'm as close as I can get to my goal. Dec 19, 2011 at 18:18

I'd be inclined to say 'Don't look at me in that tone of voice.'

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    I've never been looked at in a tone of voice before.
    – user11550
    Dec 18, 2011 at 16:46
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    @Mahnax Oh, I'm sure you have, but didn't realise.
    – slim
    Dec 19, 2011 at 16:03

Growl, hiss, and the like, as in:

"You had better not do that," he growled.

"Shut up," she hissed.

  • I thought of those, but most have a volume component. For example, a hiss is generally quieter, coming through gritted teeth or under one's breath. I want something where someone can <angry voice> at someone else, without the context of a particular onomatopoeia-esque sound, like snapping at someone or growling at someone. Thanks for the ideas, though Dec 18, 2011 at 0:45
  • Notice both evoke animal imagery. Dogs growl, snakes (and I suppose cats) hiss. Interesting.
    – Dan Ray
    Dec 19, 2011 at 16:02

To rant is "to speak in an angry or violent manner" -- not necessarily with volume.

(It's actually more chilling that way.)

  • I too thought of rant but felt that "violent" implies loudness, as do some of the other defining terms in the page you linked: uproarious, boisterous, "speak or shout at length", "talk in a noisy, excited, or declamatory manner", "loud bombastic declamation". Rave may have some of the same problems. Dec 18, 2011 at 7:15
  • @jwpat7 Yeah, I was surprised that rant wasn't on your rather comprehensive list. I'm not sure that there's a word for "ranting at low volume."
    – Gnawme
    Dec 18, 2011 at 7:28

I can't think of a single word but the phrase "His voice was seething with anger" comes to mind - but perhaps the term "seething" is too intense for your liking. Also, it has to be used in a descriptive way to make clear that it refers to one's voice.

  • intensity is fine. like I said to Pete, it's mainly that all the angry words seem to apply better to rope (snap), animals (growl, hiss, bark, yap), pots (seethe, fume), etc. Also, I don't mind if I come off a little sesquipedal by using the word. Dec 18, 2011 at 0:50
  • Consider an active form like “His voice seethed with anger” instead of “His voice was seething with anger” Nov 11, 2016 at 19:55

How about this: You are short fused again, Dave.

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