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Gothic vocabulary bank

Gothic vocabulary list

Extend the vocabulary of your English students with this list of Gothic words. It’s ideal as a creative writing prompt to help students when writing atmospheric gothic stories, and can also support with choosing more engaging synonyms for creative writing tasks.

The vocabulary list is sorted into eight handy categories, for example, 'words to describe characters' and 'words to create atmosphere'. 

If you are exploring the gothic genre, you might also like our KS3 Gothic teaching pack , which features a range of gothic literature from writers such as Edgar Allan Poe, Jane Austen, Bram Stoker and Horace Walpole, and includes iconic gothic novels from the 19th-century and earlier, such as The Castle of Otranto, Frankenstein and Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.

Example words from the vocabulary bank: 

Words to describe the unknown:

an amorphous creature

it appeared to …

opaque water

something moved

unintelligible sound

Words to create atmosphere






Words to describe emotions

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How to Write Gothic Fiction

Last Updated: January 29, 2023 References Approved

This article was co-authored by Christopher Taylor, PhD . Christopher Taylor is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of English at Austin Community College in Texas. He received his PhD in English Literature and Medieval Studies from the University of Texas at Austin in 2014. There are 10 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. This article received 21 testimonials and 80% of readers who voted found it helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 344,032 times.

Gothic fiction is a subgenre of horror, exemplified by authors such as H.P. Lovecraft, Edgar Allan Poe, Mary Shelley, and Wilkie Collins. Gothic horror consists of moody landscapes, supernatural experiences, and an atmosphere filled with dread. You can write your own piece of gothic fiction if you know about its conventions. Keep reading to learn how to write a gothic fiction story.

Developing Ideas for Your Gothic Fiction

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Making Your Gothic Fiction Unique

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Writing Your Gothic Fiction

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good words to use in gothic writing

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Write a Short Story

About This Article

Christopher Taylor, PhD

To write a great piece of gothic horror, start by setting your story in a strange, decaying place with a creepy atmosphere, like a crumbling castle or a haunted house. Then, spend plenty of time developing your characters. Create a main character that has some dark tendencies but is still sympathetic, and a villain who tempts the hero towards a dark path. If you need some inspiration, look for examples in the works of the great gothic horror writers, including Bram Stoker, Mary Shelley, and Edgar Allan Poe. For more writing tips from our Literary co-author, like how to develop an engaging plot, keep reading! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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Useful phrases in Gothic

A collection of useful phrases in Gothic, an extinct East Germanic language that was spoken in parts of the Crimea until the 17th century.

Jump to phrases

See these phrases in any combination of two languages in the Phrase Finder . If you can provide recordings, corrections or additional translations, please contact me .

Key to abbreviations: m = male, f = female, > said to, 1p = one person, 2p = two people, 3+p = three or more people.

Phrases and recordings provided by David Carlton, Basti Weidemyr, Bjarne Simmelkjær Sandgaard Hansen, Justïne, and Roel, from his Gothic language conversation course

Download all the audio files

If you would like to make any corrections or additions to this page, or if you can provide recordings, please contact me .

Information about Gothic | Phrases | Numbers | Tower of Babel | Gothic books

Other collections of Gothic phrases

Phrases in Germanic languages

Afrikaans , Alsatian , American Norwegian , Bavarian , Cimbrian , Danish , Dutch , Elfdalian , English (British) , Faroese , Flemish (West) , Frisian (North - Bökingharde) , Frisian (North - Sylt) , Frisian (Saterland) , Frisian (West) , German , Gothic , Icelandic , Limburgish , Low Saxon , Luxembourgish , Norwegian , Old English , Pennsylvania German/Dutch , Scots , Stellingwarfs , Swedish , Swiss German (Basel dialect) , Swiss German (Chur dialect) , Swiss German (Lucerne dialect) , Värmlandic , West Jutlandic , Westrobothnian , Yiddish

Phrases in other languages

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good words to use in gothic writing

good words to use in gothic writing

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Gothic Words

Words related to gothic.

Below is a massive list of gothic words - that is, words related to gothic. The top 4 are: dark , horror , goth and victorian . You can get the definition(s) of a word in the list below by tapping the question-mark icon next to it. The words at the top of the list are the ones most associated with gothic, and as you go down the relatedness becomes more slight. By default, the words are sorted by relevance/relatedness, but you can also get the most common gothic terms by using the menu below, and there's also the option to sort the words alphabetically so you can get gothic words starting with a particular letter. You can also filter the word list so it only shows words that are also related to another word of your choosing. So for example, you could enter "dark" and click "filter", and it'd give you words that are related to gothic and dark.

You can highlight the terms by the frequency with which they occur in the written English language using the menu below. The frequency data is extracted from the English Wikipedia corpus, and updated regularly. If you just care about the words' direct semantic similarity to gothic, then there's probably no need for this.

There are already a bunch of websites on the net that help you find synonyms for various words, but only a handful that help you find related , or even loosely associated words. So although you might see some synonyms of gothic in the list below, many of the words below will have other relationships with gothic - you could see a word with the exact opposite meaning in the word list, for example. So it's the sort of list that would be useful for helping you build a gothic vocabulary list, or just a general gothic word list for whatever purpose, but it's not necessarily going to be useful if you're looking for words that mean the same thing as gothic (though it still might be handy for that).

If you're looking for names related to gothic (e.g. business names, or pet names), this page might help you come up with ideas. The results below obviously aren't all going to be applicable for the actual name of your pet/blog/startup/etc., but hopefully they get your mind working and help you see the links between various concepts. If your pet/blog/etc. has something to do with gothic, then it's obviously a good idea to use concepts or words to do with gothic.

If you don't find what you're looking for in the list below, or if there's some sort of bug and it's not displaying gothic related words, please send me feedback using this page. Thanks for using the site - I hope it is useful to you! 🐰

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That's about all the gothic related words we've got! I hope this list of gothic terms was useful to you in some way or another. The words down here at the bottom of the list will be in some way associated with gothic, but perhaps tenuously (if you've currenly got it sorted by relevance, that is). If you have any feedback for the site, please share it here , but please note this is only a hobby project, so I may not be able to make regular updates to the site. Have a nice day! 🐴


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  1. Gothic Writing Word Bank

    Gothic Writing Word Bank Places Describing Places Objects Describing People Abbey Castle Cellar Cemetery Chamber Churchyard Clearing Clifftop

  2. Gothic vocabulary bank

    tenebrous unintelligible sound Words to create atmosphere dank desolation/desolate/barren/bleak dreary/grey festering fog/mist/cloud/darkness insidious malevolent nefarious ominous/menacing oppressive respite shadows sinister sombre suffocating tragic wretched Words to describe emotions aghast appalled depressed despondent impatient lugubrious

  3. How to Write Gothic Fiction (with Pictures)

    Good gothic fiction stories often end with a twist that causes readers to wonder about the events and characters of your story. The reappearance of a someone who has died is one way to include a twist, but you can experiment with other types of twists as well. [19]

  4. Useful phrases in Gothic

    Afrikaans , Alsatian, American Norwegian , Bavarian , Cimbrian, Danish , Dutch , Elfdalian, English (British), Faroese , Flemish (West) , Frisian (North - Bökingharde) , Frisian (North - Sylt) , Frisian (Saterland) , Frisian (West) , German , Gothic, Icelandic , Limburgish, Low Saxon , Luxembourgish , Norwegian , Old English, Pennsylvania …

  5. Ideas for Writing Gothic Short Stories

    Elements of Gothic Fiction. There are at least six basic elements to keep in mind when writing Gothic short stories. Any of them can be a great starting point. 1. The Setting. Generally, Gothic fiction is set in a house or castle that’s more than what it seems. It is its own character altogether.

  6. Gothic Words

    dark horror goth victorian strange gothic baroque medieval creepy death spooky unusual vampire witchy noir mediaeval gothic architecture edgar allan poe steampunk victorian era supernatural black letter vampiric edwardian doom haunted grim macabre contemporary neoclassical darker labyrinth romantic bloodborne postmodern art nouveau eerie