Alternative Words for “Whisper”



Source: writeworld

Writeworld added definitions of each word and an example sentence. Also, they have omitted hinted and insinuated, as we agree with fellow writers’ suggestions that they are not suitable additions to the list.

Be very careful when using alternative words for the word “said”.
Don’t overdo it with colorful words to convey what your characters are saying.
That should come across in the content of the dialog.

The word “said” seamlessly disappears for the reader, allowing the dialog to flow.
Junking it up with words like “snarled, growled, blurted, sputtered, bragged,
assumed, expressed, gibbered … sound amateurish. So use those words sparingly.


Instead of whispered, consider:

  • murmured: A soft, indistinct sound made by a person or group of people speaking quietly or at a distance: “Don’t go,” he murmured, grabbing her hand as she turned to leave.
  • mumbled: Say something indistinctly and quietly, making it difficult for others to hear:“Thanks a lot,” he mumbled sarcastically.
  • muttered: Say something in a low or barely audible voice, esp. in dissatisfaction or irritation: She muttered to herself all the way down the hall, reciting all her usual complaints.
  • breathed: Say something in a quiet voice or whisper: “I love you,” she breathed, her eyes full of tears.
  • sighed: Emit a long, deep, audible breath expressing sadness, relief, or tiredness; say something in a low or barely audible voice, esp. in sadness or irritation; to say exasperatedly, or all in one breath: “Right,” he sighed. “Well, just don’t do anything too stupid.”
  • hissed: To utter with a hiss, esp. in instances that include one or more sharp sibilant sounds, as of the letter s“Just stop,” she hissed, her grip on Lisa’s arm tightening.
  • mouthed: To form (a word, sound, etc.) with the lips without actually making an utterance: “The baby’s asleep,” she mouthed, leading her parents back into the living room.
  • uttered: To give audible expression to; speak or pronounce: He uttered a string of barely audible insults.
  • intoned: Say or recite with little rise and fall of the pitch of the voice: “I’m not going anywhere,” she intoned. He could tell she was exhausted by the pitchless quality of her voice.
  • susurrated: (susurration) The indistinct sound of people whispering: The room hummed with the soft susurrus of conversation.
  • purred: To utter a low, continuous, murmuring sound expressive of contentment or pleasure, as a cat does: “I know you want me,” she purred into his neck, trailing kisses across his collar bone.
  • said in an undertone: To speak in a low or subdued tone: “Not now, Jessee,” he said in an undertone.
  • gasped: Say (something) while catching one’s breath, esp. as a result of strong emotion: She could hardly gasp out an apology.
  • said low: (slang) Say something in a quiet voice or whisper: “Plants are more like us than you think,” he said low, as if he spoke to the lilies themselves.
  • said into [someone’s] ear: Say something in a quiet voice or whisper, esp. near the listener’s ear, in such a way that only they may hear: “Meet me in the parlor,” he said into Jane’s ear, and her heart betrayed her with a flutter of excitement.
  • said softly: Say something in a quiet voice or whisper: “I’m here now,” Usula said softly, brushing a lock of hair from her cheek.
  • said under [one’s] breath: (idiom) Say something in a muted voice or whisper: “Over my dead body,” Jacob said under his breath.
  • said in a hushed tone/in hushed tones: (idiom) Say something  in a softened tone, or in a quiet voice or whisper: “Will he make it, Doctor?” Kendra asked in a hushed tone.

Click here for the insightful comments to this post on Writeworld