Emotions on Display

Emotions help make us human. They are a wide variety of impulsive reactions that bypass the thoughtful mind and can sweep over us — a rush of happiness, drowning in a flood of sadness. Whether you control your emotions or express them freely, this list has representative words for all kinds of feelings, even a few words that refer to not feeling strongly one way or another. The questions that accompany this list contain image questions so that manifestations of these emotions can be better visualized. Here are 50 emotion vocabulary words.

Activities for this list:

definitions & notes only words
  1. agitated
    physically disturbed or set in motion
    My daughter always responds to me in a negative way, angrily shrugging her shoulders with an agitated reply, as if I should know that.Washington Post (Apr 22, 2016)
  2. astonished
    filled with the emotional impact of overwhelming surprise
    I just saw it go up, and I was astonished that it didn’t come back down again.New York Times (Apr 28, 2016)
  3. blase
    nonchalantly unconcerned
    Compliance adviser Gould said that while some bankers were genuinely frightened, others were blase, viewing this as simply another set of rules from regulators.Reuters (Mar 6, 2016)
  4. cocky
    overly self-confident or self-assertive
    “I bet I got a higher score than you did,” Claire says, her voice cocky.Out of My Mind
  5. despondent
    without or almost without hope
    At times he sounded almost despondent, questioning not just the ugly turn the presidential campaign has taken but the future of the American political system.New York Times (May 29, 1457)
  6. disgust
    strong feelings of dislike
    Despite polls showing increasing public disgust with Albany, significant proposals to address corruption have gone nowhere.Washington Times (May 3, 2016)
  7. discombobulated
    having self-possession upset; thrown into confusion
    One former staff member I spoke with, who developed an ulcer while working there, called The Huffington Post ‘‘a jury-rigged, discombobulated chaos machine.’’New York Times (Jun 30, 2015)
  8. dubious
    fraught with uncertainty or doubt
    Mrs. Clinton agreed to explore the proposal but was dubious that it would go anywhere.New York Times (May 2, 2016)
  9. elation
    a feeling of joy and pride
    If anything, I better understand the elation they feel when they welcome a child into the world.Washington Post (Feb 26, 2016)
  10. embarrassment
    the shame felt when inadequacy or guilt is made public
    The sophomore said he regrets his actions and the embarrassment he caused his family and his team.Washington Times (May 6, 2016)
  11. enamored
    marked by foolish or unreasoning fondness
    Was there ever a male performer more enamored with ruffles — or lace or velvet — than Prince?Washington Post (Apr 21, 2016)
  12. enraged
    marked by extreme anger
    The American military presence on Saudi soil enraged Islamic radicals, who decried the Sauds’ decision to allow “infidel” Western forces into Islam’s birthplace.The Guardian (Apr 22, 2016)
  13. enthusiasm
    a feeling of excitement
    Encouragement and enthusiasm are critical for nurturing early interest and maintaining later interest in science, technology, engineering and math.US News (May 9, 2016)
  14. exultation
    the utterance of sounds expressing great joy
    Out of the water, they laughed in exultation and triumph while Roger snapped pictures.Washington Post (Nov 3, 2015)
  15. festive
    offering fun and gaiety
    On New Year’s Eve, my husband and I made a special effort to create a festive table for our small dinner group.Washington Post (Apr 8, 2016)
  16. fury
    a feeling of intense anger
    A universe of fury seemed to spin inside Mark, an impossible feeling that he knew couldn’t last, couldn’t be contained.The Kill Order (Maze Runner, Book Four; Origin)
  17. gleeful
    full of high-spirited delight
    As a team, they delivered epic, angular rock songs that jumped genres and eras with gleeful abandon.Los Angeles Times (Jan 24, 2016)
  18. grief
    intense sorrow caused by loss of a loved one
    Without warning something would trigger my grief and my heart was ripped open again.The Guardian (May 8, 2016)
  19. hopeful
    having or manifesting optimism
    We were hopeful this year would be the year in which anti-bullying legislation reached the finish line.Washington Times (May 9, 2016)
  20. hostile
    characterized by enmity or ill will
    But disputes over division of property and one spouse’s resentment over being left can prolong hostile feelings for more than a decade.Washington Post (May 5, 2016)
  21. indifferent
    marked by a lack of interest
    The universe seems neither benign nor hostile, merely indifferent to the concerns of such puny creatures as we.Cosmos
  22. indignant
    angered at something unjust or wrong
    Find out if you're righteously indignant but actually in the wrong.US News (Apr 8, 2016)
  23. irritated
    aroused to impatience or anger
    Irritated at her grilling, he snapped, “At what point are we playing husband and wife here, and at what point lawyers?”New York Times (May 5, 2016)
  24. jubilant
    full of high-spirited delight
    Jubilant supporters said it was the best day of their lives as they left the King Power stadium.BBC (May 7, 2016)
  25. lachrymose
    showing sorrow
    The lachrymose British drama “Lilting” pivots on the prickly relationship between two people who are mourning a third.New York Times (Sep 25, 2014)
  26. listless
    lacking zest or vivacity
    An animal sits listless and unresponsive, holding tight to the bars of the cage as her normal twin sister crawls all over her.Nature (Apr 19, 2016)
  27. livid
    furiously angry
    My parents would be livid if they found out I’d had this conversation and might end contact with me altogether.Slate (Mar 28, 2016)
  28. melancholy
    a constitutional tendency to be gloomy and depressed
    Later that evening, Moyers found him in a “ melancholy mood,” and asked him “what was troubling him.”Salon (Apr 30, 2016)
  29. nervous
    causing or fraught with or showing anxiety
    Mark takes a quick look around and sees that the others are fidgety and nervous.The Kill Order (Maze Runner, Book Four; Origin)
  30. nonchalant
    marked by blithe unconcern
    Some will walk into the testing room nonchalant and relaxed; others will be so nervous they couldn’t finish breakfast.Washington Times (May 4, 2016)
  31. nonplussed
    filled with bewilderment
    He seemed nonplussed that anyone would think he was at fault for the incident.The Guardian (Dec 31, 2015)
  32. panic
    an overwhelming feeling of fear and anxiety
    The roar frightened the horses to such an extent that some galloped off in panic, dragging the ploughs in different directions, and others collapsed.Cosmos
  33. pensive
    deeply or seriously thoughtful
    Clinton seems more pensive now than in 2008 – attempting to apply a heightened authenticity and level of reflection.Salon (Jun 23, 2015)
  34. perplexed
    full of difficulty or confusion or bewilderment
    Foreign visitors were especially perplexed by the apparent absence of scientific ambition at the lab.Big Science
  35. quizzical
    And in case that leaves the people you’ve stumped with only a quizzical look on their faces, you can add, “You know, iron-overload disease.”Washington Post (Sep 2, 2013)
  36. rage
    a feeling of intense anger
    I'm not sure if the red haze clouding my vision is because of the pain from my leg or my rage at her presence.Legend
  37. repugnance
    intense aversion
    His small blue eyes shone with repugnance, a look of such unreasoning contempt for my skin that it filled me with despair.Black Like Me
  38. scared
    made afraid
    "I was a bit scared about speaking up about it in case there was a negative backlash," she said.BBC (May 11, 2016)
  39. serene
    not agitated
    She seems remarkably serene for a person who regularly inhabits the darkest places an actress can visit.Los Angeles Times (Apr 6, 2016)
  40. skeptical
    marked by or given to doubt
    “I was initially quite skeptical that such particles could be preserved in 2.7-billion-year-old rocks, but the evidence looks convincing,” she wrote in an email.National Geographic (May 11, 2016)
  41. sorrow
    an emotion of great sadness associated with loss
    The grim scenery seemed to reflect the sorrow and fear that had overtaken my family.The Guardian (May 8, 2016)
  42. stressed
    suffering severe physical strain
    She said she was stressed out, grinding her teeth, overweight, and smoking way too much.Seattle Times (May 4, 2016)
  43. sulky
    sullen or moody
    During the visit, Chadwick continued to show his sulky side, treating the American so rudely that his colleagues and friends were forced to make excuses.Big Science
  44. surprise
    come upon or take unawares
    With a look of surprise and anxiety on his face he asked the Lady Nii, “Where are you to take me?”Cosmos
  45. timid
    showing fear and lack of courage
    Compared to those who defiantly confronted soldiers and police, I was timid and afraid, yet the deed was defining for me.The New Yorker (May 2, 2016)
  46. triumph
    a successful ending of a struggle or contest
    The research was successful, a triumph, as was much of the rest of his life, of reason over superstition.Cosmos
  47. umbrage
    a feeling of anger caused by being offended
    Expect both candidates to take umbrage at the others’ tone — even while replacing their own gloves with brass knuckles.MSNBC (Apr 14, 2016)
  48. vain
    having an exaggerated sense of self-importance
    “I’m probably the least vain person you’ll meet, but in the looks department, I think God has been good to me.”New York Times (Apr 29, 2016)
  49. weary
    physically and mentally fatigued
    Voters weary of the taunts and insults of the 2016 primary season may pine for a White House campaign about issues.New York Times (May 10, 2016)
  50. wrath
    intense anger
    Melissa McCarthy regularly uses her seemingly sweet mien as comedic cover for her ability to unleash monologues of endless and often violently profane  wrath.Los Angeles Times (Apr 29, 2016)

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