1000 Ways to Describe a Feeling

Would you believe there are more than 1000 words and phrases to describe feelings. 1000? That's right. And most are single words. I've compiled a list of that many. The list does not include any metaphors, and undoubtedly there are at least another hundred words not there.

The list has history. It began in June 2007 when I read a blog post that prompted me to ask people to send me lists of emotion labels. Results poured in as friends and readers submitted lists with hundreds of words and phrases. It took a bit of doing to compile them all and eliminate the duplicates. I was fascinated to see how little overlap there was among the various lists. I've since had several classes make lists as an exercise, and the master list continued to grow. Now that it has reached the 1000 mark, it's ready for public consumption. If you think of any words not listed there, please send them to me so it can continue to grow!

You may wonder why it matters to know all these words. Generally speaking, it doesn't. But it's an amazing thing to read over this list and realize the infinite variability of both the English language and our ability to experience nuances of emotion. Reading the list will surely heighten awareness of your internal state, and that's a good thing. Research has shown that labeling emotion calms the brain and helps the stories form that make sense of our experience.

Increased awareness of emotional state will also give you more response options, widen your perspective, and prompt greater levels of personal insight.

As icing on the cake, all those extra words will make you a stronger writer by adding variety and precision to your stories and depth to your perception.

Who can afford to ignore this list? Right-click this link to download the file.

Write now: write a story about an emotional event and use several new words to describe your feelings in exquisite detail.


primecath said...

I would like to download or view the list but it responds with a request for a 'google' account. Is there any other way to view this list.


Sharon Lippincott said...

Oh dear, I have no idea how that happened, and I'm so sorry. Thanks for pointing it out. It's fixed now. Enjoy!

Carolyn K Knefely said...

Thanks for your hard work in putting this list together. I will treasure this tool.

Sharon Lippincott said...

You are ever so welcome Carolyn. I hope nobody will be too disappointed to realize that I counted wrong and there are really only 1100...