Let’s do a quick test: list every emotion you can recall without searching anywhere or asking anyone.
You ready? Go.
How many words did you come up with? 5? 10? 15? More than that?
In this post, I give you an ultimate 300+ emotion words from A to Z from around the world.
Every day, you experience a wide range of emotions you aren’t even aware of (yes, even as an adult). Recognizing different types of emotions and facial expressions build up your emotional intelligence which is the key skill you need to thrive in the world.
According to Lisa Feldman Barrett, author of the book How Emotions Are Made, recognizing different emotions builds emotional granularity, which means being able to construct precise emotional experiences.
The benefits of building emotional granularity are immense:
- People who recognize the different unpleasant feelings were 30% more flexible when regulating their emotions.
- They are less likely to drink excessively during stressful times.
- They are less likely to burst out of anger when someone hurts them.
- They act appropriately in social situations.
- They handle fear and anxiety in a better way.
The next question is — how do you build your emotional vocabulary?
You may grab a dictionary to cherry pick all the emotional words or keep scrolling to find the ultimate list of emotions and feelings (with definitions) to learn the new words you weren’t aware of.
You’ll find a lot of words from different cultures and languages (some of which are taken from Tiffany Watt Smith’s The Book of Human Emotions. Instead of trusting your memory, I recommend you to save this article to come back to it from time to time to increase your emotional awareness.
I’ve skipped a few words that were the complete synonym of an emotion already covered in the list.
Now without further delay, here’s the list of human emotions and feelings arranged in the alphabetical order:
Abbiocco (Italian): The sleepy feeling you get after a big meal.
Abhiman (Hindi): The pain and anger caused when someone we love or expect kind treatment from, hurts us.
Acedia (from the Europe Middle Ages and Renaissance): Spiritual torpor or aversion to religious imagery, suggested as arising from boredom induced by the repetitive nature of worship.
Admiration: A feeling of delighted approval and liking.
Adoration: A feeling of profound love and admiration.
Affection: A gentle feeling of fondness or liking.
Age-otori (Japanese): The bad feeling one gets after a terrible haircut.
Agitation: Feeling troubled or nervous.
Agony: Intense feelings of suffering.
Alarm: An anxious awareness of danger.
Alienation: The feeling of being alienated (socially disoriented) from other people.
Amae (Japanese): The urge to crumple into the arms of a loved one to be coddled and comforted.
Amazement: A feeling of great surprise or wonder.
Ambiguphobia (coined by American novelist David Foster Wallace): To feel uncomfortable about leaving things open to interpretation.
Amusement: A feeling of delight at being entertained.
Anger: A strong feeling that is oriented toward some real or supposed grievance.
Anguish: Extreme mental distress.
Animosity: A feeling of ill will arousing active hostility.
Annoyance: Slightly angry; irritated.
Anticipation: An emotion involving pleasure, excitement, or anxiety in considering or awaiting an expected event; suspense.
Anxiety: A vague unpleasant emotion that is experienced in anticipation of some (usually ill-defined) misfortune.
Apathy: An absence of emotion or enthusiasm.
Apprehension: Anxiety or fear that something bad or unpleasant will happen.
Astonishing: Extremely surprising or impressive.
Attachment: Affection, fondness, or sympathy for someone or something.
Attraction: An interest, desire in, or gravitation to something or someone.
Aversion: A strong dislike or disinclination
Aware (Japanese): The bittersweetness of a brief, fading moment of transcendent beauty.
Awe: A feeling of reverential respect mixed with fear or wonder.
Awumbuk (from the Baining people, Papua New Guinea): Sadness, tiredness or boredom caused by the departure of visitors, friends or relatives.
Bafflement: When too many options, particularly those poorly arranged in a disorderly heap, make it hard to follow, or know which direction we should proceed, leaving us feeling frustrated, or angry, even bilious, but most of all exhausted by a surfeit of information which creates a sense of blockage, and precipitates a feeling of existential angst for the random purposelessness of things.
Basorexia: The sudden urge to kiss someone.
Bedgasm: A feeling of euphoria experienced when climbing into bed at the end of a very long day.
Befuddlement: Nebuchaotic sensation experienced around obscure words, incomplete lists.
Bemusement: Puzzled or confused resulting from failure to understand; perplexed.
Bewilderment: A subconscious desire to frustrate ourselves, preventing us from pursuing our goals or achieving the success we crave.
Bitterness: A feeling of deep and bitter anger and ill-will.
Bliss: A state of extreme happiness.
Boredom: An emotional and occasionally psychological state experienced when an individual is left without anything in particular to do, is not interested in his or her surroundings, or feels that a day or period is dull or tedious.
Brabant (coined by Douglas Adams and John Lloyd): Wanting to see how far you can push someone or to see what would happen if…
Calmness: The mental state of peace of mind, being free from agitation, excitement, disturbance, mental stress or anxiety; tranquility; serenity.
Carefreeness: The cheerful feeling you have when nothing is troubling you.
Caring: Feeling and exhibiting concern and empathy for others.
Cheerfulness: A feeling of spontaneous good spirits.
Cheesed off: Greatly annoyed; out of patience.
Collywobbles, the: A feeling of anxiety and unease in the pit of the stomach. Unlike the “butterflies,” the collywobbles often occur late at night as we anticipate a looming deadline.
Comfort: A sense of physical or psychological ease, often characterized as a lack of hardship.
Commuovere (Italian): Often taken to mean “heartwarming”, but directly relates to a story that moved you to tears.
Compassion: Sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others.
Compersion: An empathetic state of happiness and joy experienced when another individual experiences happiness and joy.
Confidence: The feeling that one can have faith in or rely on someone or something.
Contempt: The feeling that a person or a thing is worthless or beneath consideration; scornful; disdain.
Contentment: An emotional state of satisfaction may be drawn from being at ease in one’s situation, body, and mind.
Courage: To be brave and confident enough to do what you believe in
Craving: An intense desire for some particular thing.
Curiosity: A strong desire to know or learn something.
Cyberchondria: Anxiety about “symptoms” of an “illness” fueled by Internet “research”.
Cynicism: A cynical feeling of distrust.
Defeat: The feeling that accompanies an experience of being thwarted in attaining your goals.
Delight: A feeling of extreme pleasure or satisfaction.
Dépaysement (French): The disorienting feeling of being an outsider.
Depression: Feelings of severe despondency and dejection.
Desire: A strong feeling of wanting to have something or wishing for something to happen.
Despair: The feeling that everything is wrong and nothing will turn out well.
Devotion: Feelings of ardent love.
Disappointment: A feeling of dissatisfaction that results when your expectations are not realized.
Discontentment: A longing for something better than the present situation.
Discouragement: The feeling of despair in the face of obstacles.
Disgruntlement: A feeling of sulky discontent.
Disgust: A feeling of revulsion or strong disapproval aroused by something unpleasant or offensive.
Dislike: A feeling of distaste or hostility.
Dismay: A sudden or complete loss of courage and firmness in the face of trouble or danger; overwhelming and disabling terror; a sinking of the spirits.
Displeasure: A feeling of annoyance or disapproval.
Distaste: A feeling of intense dislike; antipathy.
Distraughtness: Very worried and upset.
Distress: Extreme anxiety, sorrow, or pain.
Dolce far niente (Italian): The pleasure of doing nothing.
Doubt: A feeling of uncertainty or lack of conviction.
Dread: Fearful expectation or anticipation; trepidation.
Duende (Spanish): The mysterious power we feel when a work of art deeply moves us.
Eagerness: Enthusiasm to do or to have something; keenness.
Ecstasy: An overwhelming feeling of great happiness or joyful excitement.
Ei viitsi (Estonian): The feeling of slight laziness, can’t be bothered by anything. Don’t want to work nor go anywhere.
Elation: An exhilarating psychological state of pride and optimism; an absence of depression.
Embarrassment: A feeling of self-consciousness, shame, or awkwardness.
Empathy: Understanding and entering into another’s feelings.
Enthrallment: A feeling of great liking for something wonderful and unusual.
Enthusiasm: Intense and eager enjoyment, interest, or approval.
Entrancement: A feeling of delight at being filled with wonder and enchantment.
Envy: A feeling of discontented or resentful longing aroused by someone else’s possessions, qualities, or luck.
Eudaimonia (Greek): A sense of fulfillment and flourishing; a contented state of being happy, healthy and prosperous.
Euphoria: A feeling or state of intense excitement and happiness.
Evighed (Danish): The felt eternity of the present moment.
Exasperation: A feeling of intense irritation or annoyance.
Excitement: A feeling of great enthusiasm and eagerness.
Fago (Ifaluk): A unique emotional concept that blurs the boundaries between compassion, sadness, and love. It is the pity felt for someone in need, which compels us to care for them, but it is also haunted by a strong sense that one day we will lose them.
Fear: An unpleasant emotion caused by the threat of danger, pain, or harm.
Side note: I’ve not included every fear since doing so would make this post too long. Here’s a list of phobias if you want to explore further.
Feierabend (German): The festive mood that arrives at the end of a working day.
Fernweh (German): Feeling homesick for a place you have never been to.
Ferocity: Savagely fierce, cruel, or violent.
Fiero (Italian): Enjoyment of meeting a difficult challenge.
Forelsket (Norwegian): The indestructible euphoria experienced as you begin to fall in love.
Formal feeling, a (coined by Emily Dickinson): The fragile emotional equilibrium that settles heavily over a survivor of recent trauma or profound grief.
Fraud, feeling like a: A person intended to deceive others.
Fright: An emotion experienced in anticipation of some specific pain or danger (usually accompanied by a desire to flee or fight).
Frustration: The feeling of being upset or annoyed as a result of being unable to change or achieve something.
Fury: Wild or violent anger.
Gaiety: A festive merry feeling.
Geborgenheit (German): To feel completely safe as though nothing could ever harm you. This is usually connected to a particular place or person.
Gezelligheid (Dutch): A particular feeling of coziness; both physical circumstances — being snug in a warm and homely place surrounded by good friends — and an emotional state of feeling ‘held’ and comforted; hyggelig (Danish); gemütlich (German).
Gigil (Tagalog): The urge to pinch or squeeze something that is unbearably cute.
Gladsomeness: The feeling that comes when good things happen to the people we are fond of.
Glee: Great delight, especially from one’s own good fortune or another’s misfortune.
Glumness: A gloomy ill-tempered feeling.
Goya (Urdu): The feeling of being completely absorbed in a storyline due to fantastic storytelling. Sometimes the suspension of disbelief follows the reader into real life.
Gratitude: A feeling of thankfulness and appreciation.
Greng Jai (Thai): The feeling of being reluctant to accept another’s offer of help because of the bother it would cause them.
Grief: Intense sorrow, especially caused by someone’s death.
Guilt: Remorse caused by feeling responsible for some offense.
Han (Korean): A combination of hope and despair at the same time; the collective acceptance of suffering combined with the quiet yearning for things to be different, but combined with the very grim determination to see things through, even to the very bitter end.
Happiness: State of well-being characterized by emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy.
Hatred: Intense dislike which could invoke feelings of animosity, anger or resentment.
Heebie-Jeebies, the: A general feeling of anxiety, fear, uneasiness, or nausea.
Heimat (German): Deep-rooted fondness towards a place to which one has a strong feeling of belonging; hiraeth (Welsh).
Helplessness: A feeling of being unable to manage; powerlessness.
Hoard, the urge to: Store valuables.
Homefulness: The feeling of home.
Homesickness: A feeling of longing for one’s home during a period of absence from it.
Horror: An intense feeling of fear, shock, or disgust.
Hostility: Feeling opposition or dislike; unfriendliness.
Huff, in a: A state of irritation or annoyance.
Humble, feeling: Modest or low estimate of one’s importance.
Humiliation: Strong feelings of embarrassment.
Hunger: A feeling of discomfort or weakness caused by lack of food, coupled with the desire to eat.
Hurt: Emotional pain or distress; psychological suffering.
Hwyl (Welsh): A feeling of exuberance; full of joy and excitement.
Hysteria: Excessive or uncontrollable fear or excitement.
Ijirashii (Japanese): Arising when seeing someone praiseworthy overcome an obstacle.
Ikigai (Japanese): The feeling that life is ‘good and meaningful’ and that it is ‘worthwhile to continue living’; reason for being.
Iktsuarpok: The feeling of anticipation while waiting for someone to arrive, often leading to intermittently going outside to check for them.
Ilinx (coined by Roger Caillois): The “strange excitement” of wanton destruction; a sensation of spinning, falling, and losing control.
Impatience: A restless desire for change and excitement.
Indifference: Lack of interest, concern, or sympathy.
Indignation: Anger or annoyance provoked by what is perceived as unfair treatment.
Infatuation: An intense but short-lived passion or admiration for someone or something.
Inhabitiveness: The willingness to remain in one place; the inclination not to leave home.
Insecurity: Uncertainty or anxiety about oneself; lack of confidence.
Insulted, feeling: disrespected or scornful because of a remark or an act.
Interest: The feeling of wanting to know or learn about something or someone.
Irritation: The state of feeling annoyed, impatient, or slightly angry.
Jealousy: Feeling an envious resentment of someone or their achievements, possessions, or perceived advantages.
Joviality: Feeling jolly and jovial and full of good humor.
Joy: A feeling of great pleasure and happiness.
Jubilation: A feeling of great happiness and triumph; rejoicing.
Kaifas (Lithuanian): The sensation of massive relief for having completed something significant and then being duly rewarded with something amazing; suaimhneas croi (Gaelic).
Kaukokaipuu (Finnish): The craving for a distant land; the desperate yearning to be somewhere you’ve never even visited, or the desire to be anywhere but where you are right now.
Ker (Ifaluk): Pleasant surprise
Kilig (Tagalog): The feelings of butterflies in your stomach, usually when something romantic or cute takes place.
Koi No Yokan (Japanese): The sense upon first meeting a person that the two of you are going to fall in love.
Kuebiko (Japanese): A state of exhaustion inspired by acts of senseless violence.
Lagom (Swedish): A sense of moderation, of doing anything to just the right degree.
L’appel du vide (French, “the call of the void”): The feeling of walking along a high cliff and being gripped by the urge to leap or the itch to fling yourself in front of an oncoming train.
Liget (coined by Ilongot people): Aroused by situations of grief but closely related to anger.
Listlessness: A feeling of lack of interest or energy.
Litost (Czech): A state of agony and torment caused by a sudden sight of one’s misery.
Loathing: a feeling of intense dislike or disgust; hatred or abhorrence.
Loneliness: Sadness because one has no friends or company.
Love: A strong positive emotion of regard and affection.
Lust: Strong sexual desire.
Lykke (Danish): The feeling of everything is perfect in life.
Malu (Dusun Baguk people of Indonesia): The feeling of being flustered in the presence of someone we hold in high esteem.
Man (Hindi): A visceral yearning backed up by the recognition that what we desire reflects our innermost self.
Matutolypea: Waking up in a bad mood.
Mehameha (Tahitian): Fear associated with the uncanny sensation experienced in the presence of spirits, ghosts, and other supernatural phenomena.
Melancholy: A feeling of pensive sadness, typically with no obvious cause.
Miffed: Somewhat annoyed; peeved.
Míng mù (Chinese): The sense that one has lived well; dying without regret; yutta-hey (Cherokee).
Misery: A feeling of great mental distress or discomfort.
Mono no aware (Japanese): An empathy towards impermanence of things and both a transient gentle sadness (or wistfulness) at their passing as well as a longer, deeper gentle sadness about this state being the reality of life.
Morbid curiosity: Curiosity focused on objects of death, violence, or any other event that may cause harm physically or emotionally.
Morbidness: An abnormally gloomy or unhealthy state of mind.
Muditā (Sanskrit): Taking delight in the happiness of others, vicarious joy; opposite of schadenfreude.
Nakhes (Yiddish): The pride or delight seen in your child’s accomplishments, no matter how insignificant; naches; k’velen (Hebrew).
Naz (Urdu): The pride one feels in knowing that the other’s love is unconditional and unshakable.
Nervousness: The anxious feeling you have when you have the jitters; agitated or alarmed.
Nginyiwarrarringu (from Pintupi Aborigines of the Western Australian Desert): A sudden fear that leads one to stand up to see what caused it.
Nirvana (Sanskrit): An ‘ultimate’ form of happiness, involving complete and lasting freedom from suffering.
Nostalgia: A sentimental longing or wistful affection for a period in the past.
Oime (Japanese): The intense discomfort of being indebted.
Optimism: Hopefulness and confidence about the future or the success of something.
Orka (Swedish): To be exhausted to the point of not wanting to do something, even something enjoyable.
Outrage: An extremely strong reaction of anger, shock, or indignation; a feeling of righteous anger.
Overwhelmed, feeling: Strong emotional effect from overpowering feelings.
Panic: An overwhelming feeling of fear and anxiety.
Paranoia: The irrational and persistent feeling that people are ‘out to get you’.
Passion: A feeling of intense enthusiasm towards or compelling desire for someone or something.
Perversity: A deliberate desire to behave in an unreasonable or unacceptable way.
Pessimism: The feeling that things will turn out badly.
Philoprogenitiveness: Love towards one’s offspring.
Pique, a fit of: A feeling of irritation or resentment resulting from a slight, especially to one’s pride.
Pity: The feeling of sorrow and compassion caused by the sufferings and misfortunes of others.
Pleasure: a feeling of happy satisfaction and enjoyment.
Postal, going: Becoming extremely and uncontrollably angry, often to the point of violence.
Pride: A feeling of deep pleasure or satisfaction derived from one’s own achievements, the achievements of one’s close associates, or from qualities or possessions that are widely admired.
Pronoia: Feeling that the world around you conspires to do you good; opposite of paranoia.
Prostor (Russian): A desire for spaciousness, roaming free in limitless expanses, not only physically, but creatively and spiritually.
Rage: Violent uncontrollable anger.
Rapture: A feeling of intense pleasure or joy.
Razbliuto (Russian): The empty sentiments you feel for someone whom you loved but no longer do.
Regret: A feeling of sadness, repentance, or disappointment over an occurrence or something that one has done or failed to do.
Relaxation: A feeling of refreshing tranquility and an absence of tension or worry.
Relief: A feeling of reassurance and relaxation following release from anxiety or distress.
Reluctance: Unwillingness or disinclination to do something.
Remorse: A feeling of deep regret or guilt for a wrong committed.
Reproachfulness: Expressing disapproval or disappointment with disgrace or shame.
Repugnance: Intense disgust.
Resentment: A feeling of deep and bitter anger and ill-will.
Retrouvailles (French): The happiness you feel upon reuniting with someone after you have been apart for a long time.
Ringxiety (coined by David Laramie): The phantom feeling of a phone call in one’s pocket. Any moment of ringxiety is immediately followed by a sort of minor shame and embarrassment as you put your phone back in your pocket.
Road rage: Aggressive or angry behavior exhibited by a driver of a road vehicle, which includes rude and offensive gestures, verbal insults, physical threats or dangerous driving methods targeted toward another driver or a pedestrian in an effort to intimidate or release frustration.
Romance: A feeling of excitement and mystery associated with love.
Ruinenlust (German): The feeling of being irresistibly drawn to crumbling buildings and abandoned places.
Rus (Ifaluk): Unpleasant surprise.
Sadness: An emotional pain associated with, or characterized by, feelings of disadvantage, loss, despair, grief, helplessness, disappointment and sorrow.
Satisfaction: The contentment one feels when one has fulfilled a desire, need, or expectation.
Saudade (Portuguese): A deep emotional state of nostalgic or profound melancholic longing for an absent something or someone that one loves; dor (Romanian); natsukashii (Japanese).
Schadenfreude (German): Pleasure, joy, or self-satisfaction that comes from learning of or witnessing the troubles, failures, or humiliation of another.
Sehnsucht (German): life longings; an intense desire for alternative states and realizations of life.
Self-pity: Excessive, self-absorbed unhappiness over one’s own troubles.
Sentimentality: Exaggerated and self-indulgent tenderness, sadness, or nostalgia.
Shame: A painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behavior.
Shock: The feeling of distress and disbelief that you have when something bad happens accidentally.
Shyness: A feeling of fear of embarrassment.
Sisu (Finnish): An extraordinary determination in the face of adversity; the willingness to persevere through tasks that are hard or even just boring; að jenna (Icelandic); sitzfleisch (German).
Smugness: Excessive pride in oneself or one’s achievements.
Song (coined by Ifaluk people, Micronesia): Close to anger, or admonition, with moralistic overtones and no disposition to revenge.
Sorrow: A feeling of deep distress caused by loss, disappointment, or other misfortune suffered by oneself or others.
Spite: A desire to hurt, annoy, or offend someone; feeling a need to see others suffer.
Stress: A state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or demanding circumstances.
Sukha (Sanskrit): ‘Genuine’ happiness; not referring to positive feelings that one ‘happens’ to experience, but is a state of flourishing rooted in ethical and spiritual maturation.
Sulkiness: A sullen moody resentful disposition.
Surprise: The astonishment you feel when something totally unexpected happens to you.
Suspicion: A feeling or thought that something is possible, likely, or true.
Tarab (Arabic): Musically induced ecstasy or enchantment.
Tartle (Scottish): The anxiousness occurring before you have to greet or speak to someone whose name you can’t quite remember.
Technostress: Stress caused by working with computer technology on a daily basis.
Tension: A state of mental or emotional strain or suspense.
Terror: An overwhelming feeling of fear and anxiety.
Textpectation: The anticipation felt when waiting for a response to a text.
Thrill: A sudden feeling of excitement and pleasure.
Ti voglio bene (Italian): The attachment for family, friends, and animals.
Torschlusspanik (German): The agitated, fretful feeling we get when we notice time is running out.
Toska (Russian): A longing with nothing to long for, a sick pining, a vague restlessness.
Triumph: A state of joy or exultation at success.
Ukiyo (Japanese): A sense of living in the moments of fleeting beauty, detached from the pains of life.
Umpty: A feeling of everything’s being “too much” and all in the wrong way.
Vengefulness: A malevolent desire for revenge.
Vergüenza ajena (Spanish): A sense of shame on behalf of another person, even though that person may not be experiencing shame themselves; fremdschämen (German); myötähäpeä (Finnish); bixomets (Catalan).
Viraag (Hindi): The emotional pain of being separated from a loved one.
Viral: The realization of love through separation.
Voorpret (Dutch): Pre-fun, the sense of enjoyment felt before a party or event takes place; vorfreude (German).
Vulnerability: Feeling exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed.
Wabi-sabi (Japanese): A state of acceptance of the imperfections in life and appreciating them as beautiful. Appreciating the flow of life.
Waldeiensamkeit (German): The feeling of being alone in the woods and a connectedness to nature; friluftsliv (Norwegian); shinrin-yoku (Japanese).
Wanderlust: A strong desire for or impulse to wander or travel and explore the world.
Warm glow: Altruistic pleasure.
Weltschmerz (German): The resigned feeling you get when life cannot satisfy you.
Wonder: A feeling of amazement and admiration, caused by something beautiful, remarkable, or unfamiliar
Worry: The state of being anxious and troubled over actual or potential problems.
Wrath: Extreme anger.
Yaqin (Arabic): Certitude and freedom from doubt.
Yearning: A feeling of intense longing for something.
Yūgen (Japanese): A feeling of being moved to one’s core by the impenetrable depths of existence.
Zeal: Great energy or enthusiasm in pursuit of a cause or an objective; strong eagerness.
That’s all, folks! Isn’t it amazing how many of these emotions we already felt but didn’t know there was a word for it?
If you keep expanding your emotional vocabulary, you’ll be much more comfortable when dealing with your negative emotions and much quicker to appreciate the positive emotions.
Now I know I feel kaifas as I publish this article.
How many new words did you learn today from this list of emotions? Share this post with your friends with one new word you learned today.
Want To Expand Your “Happiness Vocabulary”?
Some other helpful resources: