107 Emotion Words List for Personal and Professional Literacy

Delve into our extensive emotion words list to enhance your vocabulary and improve your emotional literacy. Learn how to express yourself more effectively! 

Our emotion word list aims to help you convey specific emotions accurately. There are numerous words you can use, each with a subtle difference that provides the reader with a greater depth of meaning.

As a personal example, I was briefly angry at my parents for forgetting to bring their digital camera to my 2013 high school graduation. I had an iPhone, but its two-megapixel camera was no match for their Panasonic ZS7’s 12-megapixel sensor. I forgot about it right after we left the school, excited instead for the big cake waiting at home. It would take me years to realize I wasn’t angry with my parents. I was “disappointed.” 

The evolution of human emotion has been studied in great detail. However, to this day, there is no one scientific definition. The Philosopher Aristotle tried to define emotion in his treatise, Rhetoric, “The emotions are all those feelings that so change men as to affect their judgements, and that are also attended by pain or pleasure. Such are anger, pity, fear and the like, with their opposites.”

As a writer, it is imperative that you communicate emotion effectively if you want to engage your readership. Make your audience identify with your characters to bind them to your plot.

Do you know how to elicit emotions in your readers? See our list of mood words.

What are Emotion Words?

Emotion words
Plutchnik’s eight primary emotions are Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear, Trust, Disgust, Surprise, and Anticipation

According to Psychology Today, emotions are automatic, unconscious responses to stimuli. They are brief mental interpretations of bodily sensations. 

Emotion wheel charts help sort out complex emotions. One of the most popular diagrams is the Plutchnik wheel, made by Psychologist Robert Plutchnik in the 1980s. It presents eight primary emotions, which can be combined to create secondary or complex emotions. In this list, we will use Plutchnik’s eight primary emotions: Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear, Trust, Disgust, Surprise, and Anticipation.

Being able to express the exact emotion you’re feeling increases your emotional intelligence. In language, relaying the exact emotion word will help you avoid misunderstandings.

Emotion Words List Printable

Emotion words list printable

Emotion Words List


Emotion Word: Joy

In Plutchik’s Emotion Wheel, the eight fundamental emotions can vary in degree and merge with other primary emotions.

Joy is a positive feeling of well-being and gratification. It’s the opposite of sadness. Subtle joy is serenity, and intense joy is ecstasy. When joy merges with trust, it leads to love. When joy joins with anticipation, it results in optimism.

  1. Bliss

He experienced the utter bliss of winning the championship.

  1. Contentment

I only discovered contentment when I quit my toxic job and moved to the province.

  1. Ecstasy

The group danced in ecstasy.

  1. Elation

His heart pounded with elation as he crossed the finish line first.

  1. Euphoria

He was overcome with euphoria when he saw his newborn child.

  1. Exaltation

The astronauts cheer with exaltation as they look down at Earth from space.

  1. Happiness

My simple happiness includes getting eight hours of sleep.

  1. Jubilation

The crowd erupted in jubilation as their team scored the winning goal.

  1. Pleasure

The first bite of her favorite dessert brought her immense pleasure.

  1. Pride

She beamed with pride as her daughter received the graduation diploma.

  1. Satisfaction

Seeing his debut novel on the bestseller list brought him great satisfaction.

  1. Serenity

In the calm of the early morning, she found much-needed serenity.

  1. Triumph

Their team’s triumph in the championship game was celebrated city-wide.

Emotion Word: Trust

Trust is connected to security and tranquility. This primary emotion is the conviction that no harm is near.

  1. Acceptance

All she wanted was complete acceptance from her peers to feel like a part of the group.

  1. Acclaim

Winning the prestigious award, he basked in the acclaim of the audience.

  1. Admiration

Her bravery in the face of adversity garnered much admiration from her friends.

  1. Appreciation

He expressed his deep appreciation for her help during his time of need.

  1. Besotted

She was utterly besotted with her new lover, spending every possible moment with him.

  1. Comfortable

He has the power to make anyone feel comfortable around him.

  1. Devotion

His devotion to his craft was evident in the meticulous detail of his work.

  1. Esteemed

He’s an esteemed guest, so take care of him.

  1. Hopeful

He has always been hopeful about the future.

  1. Positive

The manager maintained a positive attitude despite the many setbacks.

  1. Relaxed

Although my dog just met my boyfriend, she immediately relaxed around him.

  1. Reliable

His coworkers appreciated his reliable nature, knowing they could always count on him.

  1. Safe

She’s sure he will keep her safe.

  1. Secure

Investing in a robust security system helped him feel more secure in his house.

  1. Supported

With her friends and family standing by her, she truly felt supported in her endeavors.

Emotion Word: Fear

Danger and threat give birth to fear. It’s the unpleasant uncertainty that provokes adaptive responses. Fear and surprise lead to awe. But fear and sadness create despair.

  1. Agitation

Due to the sudden system failure, the IT team was thrown into a state of agitation.

  1. Anxiety

The mounting deadline induced her crippling anxiety.

  1. Anxious

She’s anxious about her test results.

  1. Apprehension

The thought of public speaking filled him with apprehension.

  1. Caution

Seeing the wet floor sign, he proceeded with caution.

  1. Concern

His prolonged absence from work sparked concern among his officemates.

  1. Dread

The looming meeting with the mean boss filled the whole department with dread.

  1. Fright

The sudden sound in the dead of the night gave her a terrible fright.

  1. Horror

The horror of the accident scene left the first responders shaken.

  1. Nervousness

His nervousness will affect his performance.

  1. Panic

The sudden power outage sent a wave of panic through the crowd at the concert.

  1. Qualms

She has qualms about the ethical implications of the project, so she quit.

  1. Stressed

Balancing work and personal life stressed him out.

  1. Terror

The lion’s roar sent terror through the campers.

  1. Trepidation

She approached the haunted house with trepidation.

  1. Uncertainty

The uncertainty of the economy left many investors indecisive.

  1. Worry

His mother couldn’t help but worry when he didn’t return home on time.

Emotion Word: Surprise

Surprise is a neutral emotion and refers to one’s reaction to something unforeseen or unpredictable. It’s the opposite of anticipation. Surprise plus sadness is disapproval or disappointment. Surprise plus anger is outrage. Surprise plus joy is delight.

  1. Amazement

The school boy’s amazement as they saw the Grand Canyon for the first time was contagious.

  1. Amusement

His clever joke brought amusement to the dinner guests.

  1. Astonishment

The magician’s final trick left the audience in astonishment.

  1. Awe

The breathtaking view from the mountaintop filled him with awe.

  1. Baffled

The complexity of the problem baffled the entire team.

  1. Bewildered

The sudden change of plans left her feeling bewildered.

  1. Disbelief

His outrageous claim was met with widespread disbelief.

  1. Distracted

The constant noise in the library distracted her study session.

  1. Shock

The news of the unexpected victory sent a wave of shock through the crowd.

  1. Speechless

The surprise party left her utterly speechless.

  1. Stupefied

The twist at the end of the movie left the audience stupefied.

  1. Wonder

The child looked at the night sky with wonder, captivated by the countless stars.

Emotion Word: Sadness

Sadness is an emotion that often requires social support. It’s connected to a lack or loss of something important. It’s a negative emotion but can still lead to positive reactions such as empathy and introspection. Sadness and anger lead to envy. Sadness and disgust lead to remorse.

  1. Agony

The agony of waiting for the exam results was unbearable for the students.

  1. Anguish

The anguish of losing her husband to the war continues to consume her.

  1. Depressed

John was depressed and struggled for a year before deciding to go to therapy.

  1. Disappointed

Her decision to cheat on her boyfriend disappointed the whole family.

  1. Discouraged

Her continual failure discouraged her from trying again.

  1. Dismay

The team expressed dismay upon hearing about the sudden rule changes in the tournament.

  1. Distress

Witnessing the accident caused her great distress.

  1. Grief

They shared their grief together after the loss of their mutual friend.

  1. Hurt

The harsh words from her childhood idol hurt her deeply.

  1. Melancholy

A feeling of melancholy overtook him as he walked through his old, now deserted, school.

  1. Pensiveness

In the midst of the bustling party, he was lost in pensiveness, thinking about the meaning of life.

  1. Regret

Her regret stemmed from not taking control of her life sooner.

  1. Rejection

The aspiring actor faced rejection after rejection, but he persevered in his pursuit.

  1. Sorrow

A deep sorrow filled her heart as she remembered her departed grandmother.

Emotion Word: Disgust

The opposite of confidence, disgust is a strong dislike or rejection of something. Subtle disgust is aversion; intense disgust is repulsion. Disgust and anger is contempt. Varying degrees of disgust also result in less-known emotions, such as cynicism (aversion combined with anticipation).

  1. Abhor

She abhorred the idea of resorting to dishonest means to achieve success.

  1. Averse

Despite being a foodie, he was surprisingly averse to trying seafood.

  1. Boredom

The mundane routine at work led him to a state of boredom that was hard to ignore.

  1. Critical

The coach was critical of the team’s lax approach to training.

  1. Despise

His arrogant attitude made people despise him despite his talent.

  1. Detest

She detests it when people show up late without giving prior notice.

  1. Disapproval

Her parents voiced their disapproval of her decision to quit her well-paying job.

  1. Disinterest

His disinterest in the class was evident from his frequent absences.

  1. Dismissiveness

Her dismissiveness of others’ ideas did not make her a popular leader.

  1. Hatred

His unfair treatment of employees fuelled a deep hatred for him within the organization.

  1. Loathing

The protagonist’s loathing of the villain is a primary driving force throughout the novel.

  1. Repulsion

The sight of the gruesome scene stirred a feeling of repulsion in her.

  1. Revulsion

Her revulsion for violence was so strong that she couldn’t even watch action movies.

Emotion Word: Anger

Anger is one’s response to a perceived deliberate action. Although an action isn’t always deliberate, anger can still manifest. Anger is considered a negative but necessary emotion for survival and adaptation.

  1. Aggression

The wild animal showed clear signs of aggression when approached by the humans.

  1. Annoyance

His constant interruption during the meeting was a major cause of annoyance for the team.

  1. Bitterness

The betrayal left a taste of bitterness in his ex-wife’s mouth.

  1. Frustration

Frustration washed over her as her old computer crashed again.

  1. Insulted

He felt insulted when the panel critiqued his artwork.

  1. Irritation

The incessant noise from the construction site was a source of extreme irritation for the residents.

  1. Jealous

She couldn’t help feeling jealous when someone else received the promotion she was working so hard for.

  1. Mocked

He was mocked by his brother for wanting to become a baker, but now he owns four pastry shops.

  1. Offended

Maya was offended by Josh’s comment about her culture.

  1. Provoked

He’s usually calm, but the customer provoked him into a fistfight.

  1. Rage

I decided to lock myself in my room instead of talking to him with blind rage.

  1. Seethe

The intern seethes at the unfairness of her situation.

  1. Violated

His comments made her feel violated, so she filed a report against him.

Emotion Word: Anticipation

Anticipation requires previous knowledge or information. It’s a positive expectation based on observable facts and experience. Anticipation is crucial to prepare for the future and avoid any harm. Anticipation mixed with joy is optimism. But anticipation mixed with anger is aggressiveness.

  1. Alert

The scouts kept their senses alert; they should be ready for any danger.

  1. Attentiveness

His attentiveness to her needs made Luna fall for him.

  1. Awareness

His awareness of social issues made him actively participate in community development projects.

  1. Excitement

The children’s eyes gleamed with excitement when they saw the bucket of candies.

  1. Expectant

The expectant public waited for the royals to start their parade.

  1. Harried

The harried employee finally gave his two-week notice.

  1. Impatience

He had been waiting for that parcel for two months now; I understand his impatience.

  1. Interest

Her interest in joining the army did not last long.

  1. Vigilance

Your vigilance is critical in keeping everybody in this function safe.

  1. Wary

She’s wary of everyone — she doesn’t even trust her sister! Check out our list of feeling words next!

  • Maria Caballero is a freelance writer who has been writing since high school. She believes that to be a writer doesn't only refer to excellent syntax and semantics but also knowing how to weave words together to communicate to any reader effectively.