List of Feeling Words From A to Z

Help Your Kids Build an Emotional Vocabulary

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 an emotional vocabulary to hang these feelings on. 

Helping our kids expand their emotional vocabulary not only aids them scholastically, it 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 when expressing themselves—we aid in their emotional growth now into their teen and adults years.

Challenges for Parents and Guardians

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

This is often because, as adults, we are expected to be better adjusted and stable. Over times, 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 will often forget how to express our emotions verbally and will instead use emojis or internet slang like "LOL" or "ROFL" to clarify these feelings. These behaviors are not only adopted by our kids but encouraged culturally as the very speed of communications shortcuts vocabulary and expression to anything but the mere essentials.

It is only by intervening as parents, ideally when our kids are young, that we can help them not only build sophisticated emotional vocabularies but approach feelings and relationships in a more sophisticated and well-adjusted way.

To help begin the journey, here is a list of common 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