by Liz Walter
Someone with a high or high-pitched voice speaks with sounds near the top of the range of human voices, while someone with deep voice speaks at the bottom of this range. Low-pitched also means deep but also often implies that the voice is difficult to hear:
We could hear the children’s high-pitched laughter.
Charles has a very deep voice.
He spoke in a low-pitched murmur.
There are lots of adjectives for describing voices in a rather critical way. Squeaky means unpleasantly high-pitched, often describing someone who is nervous or over-excited. Strident means loud and unpleasant and is usually used to describe people who express their views in a strong way that annoys other people. Shrill is similar, but also means high-pitched, and is usually used of women:
She talks all the time, in an annoying squeaky voice.
He talks over other people in a strident voice.
I wish she wouldn’t talk in such a shrill way.
Other negative adjectives describe problems with voices. Someone with a croaky voice sounds as if they have a sore throat. If someone sounds as if they need to cough, we say they have a frog in their throat, while a nasal voice sounds as if the speaker has a blocked nose:
Please excuse my croaky voice – I have a cold.
Oh dear, Max has a frog in his throat.
He spoke with an unpleasant nasal drawl.
His sonorous voice inspired trust in people.
Her mellifluous tones brought her a lot of voiceover work.
I could hear his booming voice from the other side of the field.
She gave a piercing scream.
He delivered his speech in resonant tones.
Finally, we often describe voices by using verbs for animal sounds. For example, people may croak like a frog (hence ‘have a frog in your throat), roar like a lion (speak very loudly and angrily), bleat like a lamb (speak quietly and nervously or complain annoyingly), bray like a donkey (speak loudly and in an arrogant way) or purr like a cat (speak in a low, pleased voice).
There are many other words for voices: do feel free to make suggestions below!