Emotion words

Hello lovely students! Today I will show you something about emotions and how we express them in English. You may already know a few, such as happy, angry and sad. But what about other emotions and their synonyms? They’re worth knowing, too, and will help you to expand your vocabulary.

I have a long list of positive emotions and negative emotions below. Shall we get started?

The science of emotions

Before I get on with the list, I wanted to tell you about emotions through a scientific lens. In 1970 Professor Paul Eckman identified six key emotions that are present universally in all human cultures. These six were joy, sadness, disgust, fear, surprise and anger.

He photographed the different emotions on people’s faces worldwide, and they all expressed them similarly.

For example, if you feel angry, chances are you may frown. This, the professor concluded, is the same for everyone, everywhere. Of course, these aren’t the only emotions, but I’ll be focusing on these.

There are plenty more emotions than these six. Look at more below.

Positive emotions


JoyfulJoyI’m joyful today. My dress arrived on time.
HappyHappinessShe’s happy to hear from you.
Cheerful/cheeryCheerfulnessI was cheerful/cheery until I fell over.
Amused*AmusementRyan was rather amused by his son.
Jovial JovialitySam is a jovial woman. She’s always smiling.
ElatedElationI got into Yale. I’m elated!
Ecstatic EcstasyThey are ecstatic with their results.
Gleeful Glee She was very gleeful about writing her book.
MerryMerriment Shilpa is such a merry person. She’s never sad.
Glad GladnessI’m glad you found your keys.

Top tip: we also use the word merry in English when someone is a bit drunk. We would say: “They are a bit merry, aren’t they?


Surprised*SurpriseI’m so surprised you kept this wonderful holiday a secret for so long.
Amazed*Amazement Tiffany is amazed that you passed the driving test.
Astonished*Astonishment I’m astonished by your attitude.
Startled*StartleYou startled me!
FlabbergastedI’m flabbergasted by the response.
NonplussedShe was nonplussed when he asked for wine instead of his usual beer.
StunnedThey were stunned to learn about what happened to Margot.
Shocked*Shock I’m shocked that his feelings were hurt.
Astounded*AstonishmentHe was astounded that his dog could identify him with his singing voice.
DumbstruckI’m dumbstruck. Is Tanya dating Frank?

Top tip: being surprised isn’t always a good thing. It can also be a negative thing too.

Negative emotions


We are sad to hear about Roxy.
Downcast I feel slightly downcast this morning. I had an unpleasant commute to work.
Melancholic MelancholyShe felt melancholic after her argument.
MiserableMiseryI feel miserable when I talk to Mitch. He has nothing positive to say ever.
UpsetUpsetThe teacher was upset with what the child said.
DownI’m feeling down because my relationships always fail.
Sorrowful SorrowHis face looked sorrowful.
Dejected DejectionSteve is feeling dejected because he could not go away on his break. He had to work.
BlueI can relate. I sometimes feel blue when my favourite film characters die.
Unhappy Unhappiness Being unhappy is never a good thing. Do something fun to help.


Disgusted*DigustWe are disgusted that you went your own way instead of following us. It was selfish!
Revolted*RevoltI was revolted by the smell of the bins.
Queasy QueasinessHer cooking made my belly feel queasy.
Sickened*SicknessEww! I’m sickened by all this mess!
Repulsed*RepulsionShe was repulsed by his lack of art knowledge.


Fearful FearI’m fearful of what may happen to you if you go there alone.
Scared*ScareI’m too scared to watch this film.
Frightened*Fright The children in The Sound of Music were frightened of the storm.
Petrified* PetrificationI used to be petrified of the film The Mummy with Brendan Fraser in it.
Anxious AnxietyMrs Snell is a bit anxious today. I hope she is ok.
Worried Worry He’s not my child, but I’m worried he won’t finish school. He just wants to work.
Alarmed* AlarmWe’re alarmed at what is happening at the moment.
Panicked PanicWhenever she performs, she gets panicked about what the audience might think. She needs to come up with new coping strategies.
Afraid I’m afraid that I won’t be promoted.


AngryAngerI’m so angry at what they did to my house. They threw a party whilst I was away.
RagingRage My boss was raging at Jim’s idea. I think it was because he didn’t think of it first.
FuriousFuryI’m furious at how you respond to me. You are impolite all the time.
CrossLee is always cross. We don’t know why
Outraged* OutrageIt’s such a miscarriage of justice. I’m outraged.
BallisticShe had never seen him go so ballistic before; usually, he is calm.
LividForget being livid all the time. Life is too short.
FumingI bet their dog Angus was fuming when they bought a cat home.

Other emotions


HungryHungerWe have driven all day. I am hungry.
Peckish I could eat a biscuit. I’m feeling peckish.
StarvingStarvationThey were starving. But they had only eaten 2 hours ago!
FamishedFamineAfter a long day at work, I’m always famished.
RavenousHe is ravenous 24/7. He doesn’t stop!


Bored*Boredom/boreI’m so bored of doing my homework.

Top tip: boredom is the noun for the state of feeling bored. However, we use the word bore to describe a person who makes us feel bored. 

For example: Craig is such a bore. I want to sleep when he talks to me.


Calm*CalmnessI feel calm when I develop a sense of responsibility at work. It makes me feel important.
TranquilTranquillityThey are tranquil and shall be asleep soon.
SereneSerenityBeing serene with your life is such a power.


Excited* ExcitementI’m so excited about using these feeling words in my everyday vocabulary.
Thrilled* ThrillWe’re thrilled to announce we’re expecting.
Delighted* Delight I would be delighted to attend your wedding.
Stoked Sebastian is stoked to go to Spain.
PumpedI’m feeling pumped to play this new game. There are five categories. It should be fun!


Stressed* StressEmotional experiences make me stressed. I don’t know how to manage them.
FrazzledI keep on thinking about the outcome, and I feel frazzled.


CompassionateCompassionThey are compassionate people. Always helping others.
DevotedDevotionHe is devoted to his work.
FondFondnessI’m very fond of my neighbours.

Something extra…

You may have noticed on the tables that I put an asterisk (*) next to some of the emotions. This wasn’t an error. I wanted to show you that these emotions can also be  adjectives that describe the thing that causes the emotion.  These are often -ing adjectives, though not all are. 

Let’s look at the first emotion with an asterisk, amused. As an -ing adjective, it turns into amusing. 

I found that film amusing. It amused me. 

Here amusing refers to the film, which made the speaker feel amused. 

Let me show you another one with the emotion surprised. As an -ing adjective, it turns into surprising.

I was surprised at him. His actions were surprising.

I’ve put all the other emotions with asterisks and their external adjectives in the table below.

Emotion (-ed adjective)External (-ing adjective)

Read the article on -ing adjectives  here for more information.

Is that everything?

Absolutely not! Head over to my YouTube channel English with Lucy for more engaging content.