List of Feeling Words From A to Z

feelings words infographic

Wordle/Amanda Morin

Parents will often ask their kids to express themselves with words—"Use your words!" is a common playground refrain—but it's not always easy for children. They are still exploring feelings and are sorely in need of emotional vocabulary to hang these feelings on. 

Helping our kids expand their emotional vocabulary helps them do better at school. It also helps them better understand the subtlety of emotions and how words like "happy" and "elated" or "indifferent" and "disinterested" differ. By teaching our children the feeling words appropriate to their age—and encouraging them to use them—we support their emotional growth now into their teen and adult years.

Challenges for Parents and Caregivers

An emotional vocabulary is one in which language accurately describes how you are feeling. As parents, we actively encourage our kids to express their feelings with words. But as adults, we often fall short. 

This is often because, as adults, we are expected to be better adjusted and stable. Over time, feelings that may have once been part of our emotional vocabulary may suddenly be considered weaknesses by others. As result, we may instinctively restrict our vocabulary to anything but the broadest terms (such as "angry" or "happy") or adopt lingo (like "cool" or "awesome") to abstract and generalize our feelings.

As a result, we often forget how to express our emotions verbally and instead use emojis or internet slang like "LOL" or "ROFL" to clarify our feelings. These behaviors are not only adopted by our kids but encouraged culturally as the speed of communication shortcuts vocabulary and expression to essentials only.

Feeling Words to Use and Teach

By intervening as parents, ideally when our kids are young, we can help them build sophisticated emotional vocabularies. In turn, this helps them approach feelings and relationships in a more sophisticated and well-adjusted way. To begin the journey, here is a list of feelings words from A to Z.

A

Angry, Annoyed, Afraid, Awkward, Affectionate, Anxious, Alarmed, Awed, Aggravated, Amazed, Astonished, Amused, Apprehensive, Absorbed, Ambivalent, Ashamed, Able, Addled, Admired, Admirable, Affable, Agreeable, Aggressive, Abandoned

B

Brave, Bothered, Bewildered, Bitter, Bashful, Blue, Baffled, Blissful, Buoyant, Bereaved, Bold

C

Cheerful, Cooperative, Confident, Calm, Cold, Curious, Content, Considerate, Cautious, Cranky, Crestfallen, Contrite, Chagrined, Carefree, Composed, Capable, Caring, Careful, Contemptuous, Cross, Concerned, Complacent, Charitable, Crushed, Cantankerous, Compulsive

D

Defiant, Depressed, Discouraged, Delighted, Disgusted, Determined, Disappointed, Detached, Daring, Disillusioned, Devious, Dismayed, Disenchanted, Doleful, Disinterested, Disdainful, Dismissive, Dejected, Disengaged, Distant

E

Elated, Enthusiastic, Embarrassed, Edgy, Excited, Envious, Exhausted, Eager, Exuberant, Enraged, Euphoric, Extravagant, Ecstatic, Eager, Emboldened

F

Funny, Frightened, Fearful, Furious, Fair, Foolish, Frustrated, Forgiving, Flustered, Fulfilled, Fatigued

G

Grouchy, Guilty, Grief-stricken, Generous, Greedy, Grateful, Grumpy, Guarded, Gleeful, Glad, Gloomy, Glum, Gracious, Grateful 

H

Happy, Humiliated, Hurt, Helpless, Hopeless, Horrified, Hesitant, Humbled, Heartbroken, Hysterical, Hyperactive

I

Irritated, Irritable, Interested, Insecure, Impatient, Inspired, Inspiring, Inadequate, Irrational, Ignorant, Indifferent, Irked, Impertinent, Inquisitive, Isolated

J

Jealous, Joyful, Joyous, Judgmental, Judged, Jaded, Jocular, Jittery

K

Kind, Keen

L

Loving, Lonely, Lackluster, Leery, Lethargic, Listless, Lazy

M

Mad, Meek, Mean, Miserable, Malevolent, Marvelous, Manipulated, Manipulative, Misunderstood, Mischievous, Mopey, Melodramatic, Moody, Melancholy, Mirthful, Moved, Morose, Manic

N

Nice, Naughty, Nasty, Nervous, Neglected, Neglectful, Needy, Needed, Naive, Nonchalant, Nonplussed, Numb

O

Overpowered, Overjoyed, Obedient, Obsessive, Obsessed, Offended, Outraged, Overloaded, Overstimulated, Obstinate, Obligated, Optimistic, Open, Openminded

P

Panicked, Panicky, Peaceful, Placid, Playful, Pensive, Puzzled, Powerful, Powerless, Pleased, Petty, Petulant, Preoccupied, Proud, Prideful, Prickly, Petrified, Pressured, Perturbed, Peeved, Passive

Q

Quirky, Quarrelsome, Qualified, Quivery, Querulous, Quiet

R

Relieved, Relaxed, Resentful, Rattled, Refreshed, Repulsed, Rational, Reasonable, Reasoned, Rebellious, Reluctant, Reassured, Remorseful, Reserved, Rejuvenated, Restless, Rattled

S

Sad, Surprised, Silly, Scared, Sorrowful, Serious, Shy, Satisfied, Sensitive, Safe, Stressed, Stubborn, Sarcastic, Spiteful, Scornful, Secure, Serene, Smug, Sociable, Sympathetic, Startled, Satisfied, Sanguine, Skeptical, Sincere

T

Thankful, Tearful, Teary, Thoughtful, Tolerant, Tolerated, Trusted, Trusting, Trustworthy, Temperamental, Terrified, Timid, Tired, Tiresome, Troubled, Tickled, Torn, Touched, Threatened, Tender, Tranquil

U

Uneasy, Uncertain, Uncomfortable, Unruffled, Unafraid, Useless, Useful, Unimpressed, Unappreciated, Undecided, Unruly, Uptight, Unnerved, Unhappy, Unsteady, Uplifted, Unsure

V

Vivacious, Vain, Vibrant, Violent, Valued, Valuable, Vital, Vexed, Volatile, Vulnerable, Victorious, Victimized, Vacant

W

Worried, Wary, Weak, Weary, Wistful, Wishful, Willful, Willing, Woeful, Weepy, Whiny, Worn, Whimsical, Warm, Witty, Withdrawn, Worthless, Wronged, Wasted, Worldly

Y

Youthful, Yielding, Yearning

Z

Zany, Zealous, Zestful

A Word From Verywell

Incorporate more feeling words into your everyday vocabulary and don't feel silly if you have to check this list often. Most adults don't use many feeling words regularly. Sprinkling a few more words into your conversations and inviting your child to share how they're feeling can go a long way toward helping them (and maybe even everyone in the family) build a comprehensive emotional vocabulary.

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