[ ih-moh-shuhn ]
/ ɪˈmoʊ ʃən /
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See synonyms for: emotion / emotions / emotionable / emotionless on Thesaurus.com

an affective state of consciousness in which joy, sorrow, fear, hate, or the like, is experienced, as distinguished from cognitive and volitional states of consciousness.
any of the feelings of joy, sorrow, fear, hate, love, etc.
any strong agitation of the feelings actuated by experiencing love, hate, fear, etc., and usually accompanied by certain physiological changes, as increased heartbeat or respiration, and often overt manifestation, as crying or shaking.
an instance of this.
something that causes such a reaction: the powerful emotion of a great symphony.
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In the UK, COTTON CANDY is more commonly known as…

Origin of emotion

1570–80; apparently <Middle French esmotion, derived on the model of movoir: motion, from esmovoir to set in motion, move the feelings <Vulgar Latin *exmovēre, for Latin ēmovēre;see e-1, move, motion


e·mo·tion·a·ble, adjectivee·mo·tion·less, adjectivepre·e·mo·tion, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does emotion mean?

An emotion is a spontaneous mental reaction, such as joy, sorrow, hate, and love. Emotions always involve mental activity and sometimes have physical effects on the body, as in She could tell what emotion he was feeling by looking at his face.

The word emotion is used generally to refer collectively to these intense feelings or an expression of them, as in The director really wanted to see some emotion from the lead actress.

What causes someone’s emotions and how someone feels or expresses their emotions differs from person to person. You and your friend might both feel sad to have failed an important test. Your reaction to your sad emotion might be to cry, while your friend’s reaction might be to shout.

The word emotional describes something that is related to emotions, causing an emotion to happen, or easily experiencing emotions.

Example: I have a hard time sharing my emotions with people and instead try to appear stoic.

Where does emotion come from?

The first records of emotion come from the 1570s. It ultimately comes from the Latin ēmovēre, meaning “to disturb.”

Emotions are part of the human consciousness. They often strongly affect a person’s behavior, and many people will go to extremes to not have to feel a negative emotion, such as fear, or to feel a positive one, such as happiness.

People are often told to control their emotions, especially children. But emotions are spontaneous responses. That is, they happen without conscious thought or planning. We can’t control them, and there is no right or wrong emotion. Emotions just are. Instead, we can control our reactions to our emotions. When we’re angry, for example, we can choose to say so rather than punch something.

Scientists theorize that humans aren’t the only animals capable of experiencing emotions. For example, if you approach a mouse, it will most likely run and hide from you out of fear. And research has shown that chimpanzees seem to behave in ways that suggest they feel emotions such as sadness, joy, and love.

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What are some other forms related to emotion?

  • emotional (adjective)
  • emotionless (adjective)
  • emotionable (adjective)
  • preemotion (noun)

What are some synonyms for emotion?

What are some words that share a root or word element with emotion

What are some words that often get used in discussing emotion?

How is emotion used in real life?

Emotion is a common word that means the intense feelings that we commonly experience.



Try using emotion!

Which of the following is not an emotion?

A. anger
B. sadness
C. hunger
D. happiness


What are other ways to say emotion?

The noun emotion is used to refer to any of the feelings of joy, sorrow, fear, hate, or love, or to any strong agitation of feelings. How is emotion different from passion, feeling, and sentiment? Find out on Thesaurus.com.

How to use emotion in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for emotion

/ (ɪˈməʊʃən) /

any strong feeling, as of joy, sorrow, or fear

Derived forms of emotion

emotionless, adjective

Word Origin for emotion

C16: from French, from Old French esmovoir to excite, from Latin ēmovēre to disturb, from movēre to move
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Scientific definitions for emotion

[ ĭ-mōshən ]

A psychological state that arises spontaneously rather than through conscious effort and is sometimes accompanied by physiological changes; a feeling.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.