See more synonyms for feeling on Thesaurus.com
  1. the function or the power of perceiving by touch.
  2. physical sensation not connected with sight, hearing, taste, or smell.
  3. a particular sensation of this kind: a feeling of warmth; a feeling of pain.
  4. the general state of consciousness considered independently of particular sensations, thoughts, etc.
  5. a consciousness or vague awareness: a feeling of inferiority.
  6. an emotion or emotional perception or attitude: a feeling of joy; a feeling of sorrow.
  7. capacity for emotion, especially compassion: to have great feeling for the sufferings of others.
  8. a sentiment; attitude; opinion: The general feeling was in favor of the proposal.
  9. feelings, sensibilities; susceptibilities: to hurt one's feelings.
  10. fine emotional endowment.
  11. (in music, art, etc.)
    1. emotion or sympathetic perception revealed by an artist in his or her work: a poem without feeling.
    2. the general impression conveyed by a work: a landscape painting with a spacious feeling.
    3. sympathetic appreciation, as of music: to play with feeling.
  1. sensitive; sentient.
  2. readily affected by emotion; sympathetic: a feeling heart.
  3. indicating or characterized by emotion: a feeling reply to the charge.

Origin of feeling

Middle English word dating back to 1125–75; see origin at feel, -ing1, -ing2
Related formsfeel·ing·ly, adverbfeel·ing·ness, nounnon·feel·ing, adjectivenon·feel·ing·ly, adverbun·der·feel·ing, noun

Synonym study

5. Feeling, emotion, passion, sentiment refer to pleasurable or painful sensations experienced when one is stirred to sympathy, anger, fear, love, grief, etc. Feeling is a general term for a subjective point of view as well as for specific sensations: to be guided by feeling rather than by facts; a feeling of sadness, of rejoicing. Emotion is applied to an intensified feeling: agitated by emotion. Passion is strong or violent emotion, often so overpowering that it masters the mind or judgment: stirred to a passion of anger. Sentiment is a mixture of thought and feeling, especially refined or tender feeling: Recollections are often colored by sentiment.

Synonyms for feeling

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Antonyms for feeling

5, 6. apathy. 12. cold.


verb (used with object), felt, feel·ing.
  1. to perceive or examine by touch.
  2. to have a sensation of (something), other than by sight, hearing, taste, or smell: to feel a toothache.
  3. to find or pursue (one's way) by touching, groping, or cautious moves.
  4. to be or become conscious of.
  5. to be emotionally affected by: to feel one's disgrace keenly.
  6. to experience the effects of: The whole region felt the storm.
  7. to have a particular sensation or impression of (often used reflexively and usually followed by an adjunct or complement): to feel oneself slighted.
  8. to have a general or thorough conviction of; think; believe: I feel he's guilty.
verb (used without object), felt, feel·ing.
  1. to have perception by touch or by any nerves of sensation other than those of sight, hearing, taste, and smell.
  2. to make examination by touch; grope.
  3. to perceive a state of mind or a condition of body: to feel happy; to feel well.
  4. to have a sensation of being: to feel warm.
  5. to make itself perceived or apparent; seem: How does it feel to be rich?
  1. a quality of an object that is perceived by feeling or touching: the soft feel of cotton.
  2. a sensation of something felt; a vague mental impression or feeling: a feel of winter; a feel of sadness in the air.
  3. the sense of touch: soft to the feel.
  4. native ability or acquired sensitivity: to have a feel for what is right.
  5. Informal. an act or instance of touching with the hand or fingers.
  6. Slang: Vulgar. an act or instance of feeling up.
  7. feels, Informal. strong, often positive feelings: That song gives me feels.I have so many feels right now.
Verb Phrases
  1. feel for,
    1. to feel sympathy for or compassion toward; empathize with: I know you're disappointed and upset, and I feel for you.
    2. Southeastern Pennsylvania and Maryland.to have a liking or desire for: If you feel for more pie, just help yourself.
  2. feel out, to attempt to ascertain (the nature of a situation, someone's attitude, etc.) by indirect or subtle means: Why not feel out the other neighbors' opinions before you make a complaint.
  3. feel up, Slang: Vulgar. to fondle or touch (someone) in a sexual manner.
  4. feel up to, Informal. to feel or be able to; be capable of: He didn't feel up to going to the theater so soon after his recent illness.
  1. cop a feel, Slang: Vulgar. to touch another person's body sexually, often in a quick and surreptitious way.
  2. feel like, Informal.
    1. to have a desire for; be favorably disposed to: I don't feel like going out tonight. Do you feel like a movie?
    2. to think; have the opinion (often used to soften the tone of discourse): I feel like this is the only solution in this case.
    3. to have a particular impression; believe (used to express emotional sentiments): I feel like she doesn't love me anymore.
  3. feel like oneself, to be in one's usual frame of mind or state of health: She hasn't been feeling like herself since the accident.Also feel oneself.
  4. feel no pain. pain(def 5).

Origin of feel

before 900; Middle English felen, Old English fēlan; cognate with Old Saxon fōlian, German fühlen; akin to Old Norse falma to grope. See fumble
Related formso·ver·feel, verb, o·ver·felt, o·ver·feel·ing.re·feel, verb, re·felt, re·feel·ing.

Usage note

When the verb feel is used in the sense "to think or believe," it typically implies believing or having an opinion on the basis of emotion or intuition, even in circumstances unsupported by much real evidence. Although some usage experts object, such use is well established in English and can be traced as far back as Middle English. When feel is used specifically to express a subjective impression, it is often used with as if, as though, or that and followed by a full sentence: I felt as if my world had come to an end. He feels as though it is always raining. I feel that things will get better now. More informally, feel can be used without as if/as though/that : I feel he's guilty. And a full sentence does not have to follow: I felt his answer to be impolite. In the same sense of "to think or believe," an alternative phrase feel like is found in informal or casual speech. This use of feel like typically expresses an opinion or emotional sentiment with a softened or tentative tone: I feel like nothing is getting done here. I feel like he is just too arrogant. Though increasingly common, use of the phrase feel like has been criticized as lazy thinking that ignores real evidence, while avoiding confrontation and debate.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for feeling

Contemporary Examples of feeling

Historical Examples of feeling

  • But among the veteran speculators the feeling was conservative.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • For an hour he watched her, feeling the arm on which she lay growing numb.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • He went back to his hotel, and feeling hungry, made a substantial meal.

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

  • Feeling sure that there was no one on the island but himself, he thought he was deceived.

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

  • This was the new train of feeling suggested by new circumstances.

British Dictionary definitions for feeling


  1. the sense of touch
    1. the ability to experience physical sensations, such as heat, pain, etc
    2. the sensation so experienced
  2. a state of mind
  3. a physical or mental impressiona feeling of warmth
  4. fondness; sympathyto have a great deal of feeling for someone
  5. an ability to feel deeplya person of feeling
  6. a sentimenta feeling that the project is feasible
  7. an impression or mood; atmospherethe feeling of a foreign city
  8. an emotional disturbance, esp anger or dislikea lot of bad feeling about the increase in taxes
  9. intuitive appreciation and understandinga feeling for words
  10. sensibility in the performance of something
  11. (plural) emotional or moral sensitivity, as in relation to principles or personal dignity (esp in the phrase hurt or injure the feelings of)
  12. have feelings for to be emotionally or sexually attracted to
  1. sentient; sensitive
  2. expressing or containing emotion
  3. warm-hearted; sympathetic
Derived Formsfeelingly, adverb


verb feels, feeling or felt (fɛlt)
  1. to perceive (something) by touching
  2. to have a physical or emotional sensation of (something)to feel heat; to feel anger
  3. (tr) to examine (something) by touch
  4. (tr) to find (one's way) by testing or cautious exploration
  5. (copula) to seem or appear in respect of the sensation givenI feel tired; it feels warm
  6. to have an indistinct, esp emotional conviction; sense (esp in the phrase feel in one's bones)
  7. (intr foll by for) to show sympathy or compassion (towards)I feel for you in your sorrow
  8. to believe, think, or be of the opinion (that)he feels he must resign
  9. (tr often foll by up) slang to pass one's hands over the sexual organs of
  10. feel like to have an inclination (for something or doing something)I don't feel like going to the pictures
  11. feel oneself or feel quite oneself to be fit and sure of oneself
  12. feel up to (usually used with a negative or in a question) to be fit enough for (something or doing something)I don't feel up to going out tonight
  1. the act or an instance of feeling, esp by touching
  2. the quality of or an impression from something perceived through feelingthe house has a homely feel about it
  3. the sense of touchthe fabric is rough to the feel
  4. an instinctive aptitude; knackshe's got a feel for this sort of work

Word Origin for feel

Old English fēlan; related to Old High German fuolen, Old Norse fālma to grope, Latin palma palm 1
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 feeling

late 12c., "act of touching, sense of touch," verbal noun from feel (v.). Meaning "emotion" is mid-14c. Meaning "what one feels (about something), opinion" is from mid-15c. Meaning "capacity to feel" is from 1580s. Related: Feelingly.



Old English felan "to touch, perceive," from Proto-Germanic *foljan (cf. Old Saxon gifolian, Old Frisian fela, Dutch voelen, Old High German vuolen, German fühlen "to feel," Old Norse falma "to grope"), from PIE root *pal- "to touch, feel, shake, strike softly" (cf. Greek psallein "to pluck (the harp)," Latin palpare "to touch softly, stroke," palpitare "to move quickly"), perhaps ultimately imitative.

The sense in Old English was "to perceive through senses which are not referred to any special organ." Sense of "be conscious of a sensation or emotion" developed by late 13c.; that of "to have sympathy or compassion" is from c.1600. To feel like "want to" attested from 1829.



early 13c., "sensation, understanding," from feel (v.). Meaning "action of feeling" is from mid-15c. "Sensation produced by something" is from 1739. Noun sense of "sexual grope" is from 1932; from verbal phrase to feel (someone) up (1930).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

feeling in Medicine


  1. The sensation involving perception by touch.
  2. A physical sensation, as of pain.
  3. An affective state of consciousness, such as that resulting from emotions, sentiments, or desires.


  1. To perceive through the sense of touch.
  2. To perceive as a physical sensation, as of pain.
  3. To be conscious of a particular physical, mental, or emotional state.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Idioms and Phrases with feeling


In addition to the idioms beginning with feel

  • feel bad
  • feel blue
  • feel for
  • feel free
  • feel in one's bones
  • feel like
  • feel like death
  • feel like oneself
  • feel like two cents
  • feel no pain
  • feel oneself
  • feel one's oats
  • feel one's way
  • feel out
  • feel out of place
  • feel put upon
  • feel someone up
  • feel the pinch
  • feel up to

also see:

  • (feel) at home
  • cop a feel
  • get the feel of
  • (feel) put upon

Also seefeelings.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.