[ih-moh-shuh n]
See more synonyms for emotion on Thesaurus.com
  1. 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.
  2. any of the feelings of joy, sorrow, fear, hate, love, etc.
  3. 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.
  4. an instance of this.
  5. something that causes such a reaction: the powerful emotion of a great symphony.

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
Related formse·mo·tion·a·ble, adjectivee·mo·tion·less, adjectivepre·e·mo·tion, noun

Synonym study

1. See feeling.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for emotions

Contemporary Examples of emotions

Historical Examples of emotions

  • She had suffered so much, so poignantly, that at last her emotions had grown sluggish.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • The girl in the chair was shaking soundlessly under the stress of her emotions.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • There had been in her gaze a conflict of emotions, strong and baffling.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • In a few minutes Katy had reduced her emotions to a dry sniffle.

    Her Father's Daughter

    Gene Stratton-Porter

  • Perhaps his emotions were far deeper than he could express in words.


    Mr. and Mrs. Haldeman-Julius

British Dictionary definitions for emotions


  1. any strong feeling, as of joy, sorrow, or fear
Derived Formsemotionless, 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

Word Origin and History for emotions



1570s, "a (social) moving, stirring, agitation," from Middle French émotion (16c.), from Old French emouvoir "stir up" (12c.), from Latin emovere "move out, remove, agitate," from ex- "out" (see ex-) + movere "to move" (see move (v.)). Sense of "strong feeling" is first recorded 1650s; extended to any feeling by 1808.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

emotions in Medicine


  1. An intense mental state that arises subjectively rather than through conscious effort and is often accompanied by physiological changes.
Related formse•motion•al adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

emotions in Science


  1. 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.