Compass Rose logo for the Compass DeRose guidesThe Compass DeRose Guide to Emotion Words

This page was written by Steven J. DeRose on 2005-04-21, and was last updated on 2005-07-06. This page lives at:

This page provides a broad collection of emotion words: English words for various emotions or feelings. They are slightly organized into broad categories of feelings. I suppose one could use a thesaurus for this, too, but I didn't.

Emotion Words

Note: Where workable, Below, I have listed adjectives or verbs ("afraid", "boiling") rather than nouns ("fear", "frustration"), because naming a feeling seems less direct than using it to describe your experience.
Note: If you are trying to describe your own feelings in a non-offensive manner, besides the age-old rule of talking in terms of "I", not "you", it is wise to avoid many emotion words that are passive words (mostly ending in "-ed"), at least when a word can be negative. For example, "I feel attacked" can come across as implying "and you attacked me," which probably won't help the conversation much. Such words are struck-through below when I have gotten around to it.

You may also want to see word frequency information on these words; that is, how often they occur in English. I have extracted the number of times each one occurs in a standard 100 million word text collection, called the British National Corpus. You can see the list sorted alphabetically or by frequency. One limitation to be aware of, though, is that many of these words have other uses too (for example, "livid" may be used to describe bruises more than feelings, or "dismal" more for landscapes than people). The numbers I provide don't distinguish various uses.

I'd also like to do some cluster analysis to provide empirical instead of intuitive categories, but that's not high on my priority list.


(I chose these categories because they seemed useful -- I have not seen any system of "basic" emotion types that I find really convincing or precise, although many systems do exist):

Some additional words are available in the "Unsorted" section, and at other sites such as those I consulted when building the list:


acrimonious, angry, annoyed, appalled, bitter, boiling, cross, devastated, disgusted, enraged, frustrated, fuming, furious, hostile, in a huff, in a stew, incensed, indignant, inflamed, infuriated, irate, irritated, livid, mad, offended, outraged, piqued, provoked, rageful, resentful, sullen, up in arms, virulent, worked up, wrathful, wrought up,
aching, afflicted, agonized, anguished, bereaved, blue, cheerless, clouded, crestfallen, crushed, dark, dejected, depressed, despairing, despondent, disconsolate, discontented, discouraged, disheartened, dismal, displeased, distressed, dolorous, down, downcast, downhearted, dreadful, dreary, dull, embarrassed, flat, frowning, funereal, gloomy, glum, grief-stricken, grieved, guilt, hapless, heartbroken, heavyhearted, humiliated, hurt, ill at ease, in despair, in pain, in the dumps, injured, joyless, lonely, low spirited, low, lugubrious, melancholy, moody, moping, mournful, mumpish [huh?], offended, oppressed, out of sorts, pathetic, piteous, regretful, remorse, rueful, sad, shamed, shocked, somber, sorrowful, spiritless, suffering, sulky, sullen, tortured, tragic, unhappy, victimized, woebegone, woeful, worried,
airy, amused, animated, beatific, blissful, blithe, bright, brisk, buoyant, cheerful, cheery, comfortable, contented, convivial, debonair, ecstatic, elated, enthusiastic, excited, exhilarated, exultant, festive, free & easy, frisky, genial, glad, gleeful, great, happy, high-spirited, hilarious, humorous, important, inspired, jaunty, jocular, jolly, jovial, joyful, joyous, jubilant, laughting, lighthearted, lively, lucky, merry, mirthful, overjoyed, peaceful, playful, pleased, proud, rapturous, satisfied, saucy, self-satisfied, serene, sparkling, spirited, sprightly, sunny, terrific, thankful, tranquil, transported, vivacious,
delighted, ecstatic, fabulous, fantastic, overjoyed,


aggressive, exhuberent, immortal, indestructible, invincible, invulnerable, irresistible, powerful, unstoppable,
bashful, beaten down, blocked, defeated, discouraged, disorganized, exhausted hopeless, irresponsible, overwhelmed, powerless, stifled, thwarted, worn down, worn out,
Out of control
abused, careless, controlled, forced, impotent, obligated, obliterated, out of control, powerless, reckless, vulnerable, weak,
apathetic, complacent, full of ennui, immobilized, lazy, lethargic, numb, passive, quiescent, unconcerned, unmotivated,
adequate, capable, competent, composed, confident, encouraged, excited, in control, organized, responsible,


alone, cut off, excluded, forsaken, isolated, left out, rejected, shut out, detached, lonely, lonesome, misunderstood,
arrogant, autonomous, cocky, independent, strong, macho,
affectionate, attached, belonging, captivated, cherished, compassionate, connected, empathetic, included, liked, loved, loving, understood,
addicted, codependent, insecure, needy, sympathetic,
abandoned, chastised, criticized, deserted, discarded, forsaken, hated, ignored, left out, let down, overlooked, punished, rejected, replaced, unapproved of, unlovable, unloved,
accepted, adored, adorable, approved of, desirable, entrusted, loved, validated, valued, welcomed,

Social standing / face

belittled, chagrined, degraded, diminished, discounted, discredited, disgraced, disrespected, insignificant, underestimated, unsupported,
ashamed, awkward, disparaged, embarrassed, guilty,
average, common, ordinary,
admired, appreciated, esteemed, respected, revered, significant, supported, valued, worshiped,


abused, accused, betrayed, cheated, coerced, conned, deceived, disparaged, duped, exploited, framed, lied to, manipulated, tricked, victimized, violated,
Singled out
affronted, categorized, cross-examined, guilty, interrogated, judged, labeled, rated, singled out, stereotyped, wronged,
absolved, acquitted, appeased, justified, redeemed, satisfied, vindicated,
entitled, exempt, favored, immune, privileged,


deceived, cornered, imprisoned, optionless, outmaneuvered, set up, stifled, trapped, tricked,
burdened, obligated, pressured, put upon, thwarted,
autonomous, free, independent, released, unshackled,


derailed, disjointed, disoriented, torn,
baffled, bewildered, confused, lost, unfocussed,
committed, complacent, determined, focused, in the zone,
compelled, consumed, obsessed,


demoralized, disappointed, discouraged, disheartened, disillusioned, disinclined, repulsed, stifled, thwarted,
ambivalent, apathetic, bored, complacent, full of ennui, indifferent, lackadaisical, unmotivated,
absorbed, affected, agog, full of anticipation, anxious, attracted, avid, challenged, concerned, confident, craving, curious, dedicated, desirous, eager, earnest, enchanted, engrossed, enthusiastic, excited, fascinated, fervent, fervid, hopeful, inquisitive, inspiring, intent, interested, intrigued, keen, motivated, needed, nosey, snoopy, zealous,
addicted, ardent, aroused, horny, hot and bothered, infatuated, lustful, needy, passionate, turned on, yearning,


afraid, aghast, alarmed, anxious, appalled, apprehensive, attacked, awed, cautious, chicken, cowardly, defenseless, diffident, dismayed, doubtful, exposed, fainthearted, fearful, fidgety, frightened, hesitant, horrified, hysterical, in fear, insecure, irresolute, menaced, misgiving, nervous, panicked, petrified, phobic, quaking, restful, scared, shaky, shocked, suspicious, terrified, terrorized, threatened, timid, timorous, trembling, tremulous, upset, worried, yellow,
apprehensive, cautious, concerned, distrustful, doubtful, dubious, full of misgiving, hesitant, indecisive, pensive, perplexed, questioning, skeptical, suspicious, tense, unbelieving, uncertain, uncomfortable, wavering,
audacious, bold, brave, certain, confident, courageous, daring, dauntless, determined, encouraged, enterprising, gallant, hardy, heroic, reassured, resolute, secure, self-reliant, spirited, stout hearted,
at ease, calm, comfortable, composed, peaceful, secure,
astonished, bewildered, confused, shocked, startled, surprised,


active, afraid, agitated, animosity, antagonistic, artificial, astounded, aware,

bad, balanced, beautiful, blurry,

cheated, childish, clear, clever, competitive, complexity, conciliated, conspicuous, constrained, contemptuous, courteous, cruel, cynical,

deceitful, decisive, defiant, dehumanized, dependent, desperate, destructive, different, dim, disqualified, disregarded, dissatisfied, distracted, disturbed, divided, dominated, drained, droopy, dumb,

earthy, embittered, empty, energetic, enlightened, envious, evil, exasperated,

failure, fatigued, firm, flustered, fond, foolish, forgiving, fortunate, frank, frantic, friendly, frozen, fulfilled, full, futile,

generous, giddy, good, grateful, greedy, gullible,

harried, hasty, haughty, helpful, helpless, homesick, honored, horrible,

imposed upon, impressed, inadequate, incapable, incompetent, inconsiderate, ineffective, inferior, insulted, intense, intimidated, intricate, involved,

jealous, jumpy,


lenient, longing, lovable,

mature, mean, meditative, methodical, miserable, misery, misinterpreted, mocked, murderous,

natural, naughty, nice,

obnoxious, odd, one-upped, optimistic, out of place,

pained, patient, persecuted, perturbed, pessimistic, pitied, pleasant, posing, possessive, pretty, pushy, put down, puzzled,

relaxed, relieved, respected, responsive, restless, restrained, revengeful, rewarded, ridiculous, right, routine,

sceptical, scornful, self-confident, self-doubt, servile, sharp, shy, sick, silly, sincerity, sleepy, slumber, smart, smothered, sneaky, snubbed, solemn, spiteful, squelched, stable, stingy, strange, stressed, stubborn, stunned, stupid, successful, suicidal, superior, sure,

talkative, tempted, tenacious, tender, tentative, terrible, tired, tolerant, troubled, trusted,

ugly, unappreciated, unaware, undecided, undeserving, undesirable, uneasy, unequaled, unfair, unfulfilled, unified, unmatched, unsettled, unsupported, unstable, unsure, unwanted, unworthy, uptight, used, useless,

vehement, vigilant, vile, violent, vitriolic,

weary, whimsical, wicked, wiped out, wonderful, worthless, worthy,


The words here have been collected from a variety of sources, including those linked below. The organizing categories are developed from those at, as they seemed useful. The best way to find such lists via Google is by listing several emotion words, not by trying to characterize the topic itself.

  • Emotion Categories -- mainly just a list