emo·​tion | \ i-ˈmō-shən How to pronounce emotion (audio) \

Definition of emotion

1a : a conscious mental reaction (such as anger or fear) subjectively experienced as strong feeling usually directed toward a specific object and typically accompanied by physiological and behavioral changes in the body
b : a state of feeling
c : the affective aspect of consciousness : feeling
b obsolete : disturbance

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Choose the Right Synonym for emotion

feeling, emotion, affection, sentiment, passion mean a subjective response to a person, thing, or situation. feeling denotes any partly mental, partly physical response marked by pleasure, pain, attraction, or repulsion; it may suggest the mere existence of a response but imply nothing about the nature or intensity of it. the feelings that once moved me are gone emotion carries a strong implication of excitement or agitation but, like feeling, encompasses both positive and negative responses. the drama portrays the emotions of adolescence affection applies to feelings that are also inclinations or likings. a memoir of childhood filled with affection for her family sentiment often implies an emotion inspired by an idea. her feminist sentiments are well known passion suggests a very powerful or controlling emotion. revenge became his ruling passion

Examples of emotion in a Sentence

a display of raw emotion The defendant showed no emotion when the verdict was read. She was overcome with emotion at the news of her friend's death.
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Recent Examples on the Web To call it unbearable would be an affront to the emotion of hopelessness. David Faris, TheWeek, "Why Trump's alpha debate strategy will backfire," 30 Sep. 2020 There are songs that are in totally different languages, but the emotion behind the melody really moves me. Britt Julious, chicagotribune.com, "The music scene shut down, and Chicago artist Brandon James figured out how to adapt," 24 Sep. 2020 There is also the challenge of capturing the emotion of his subjects when all of them are masked, because of covid-19 public health guidelines. Washington Post, "With the Charlie Hebdo trial underway, does ‘Je suis Charlie’ still resonate in France?," 20 Sep. 2020 While the neutral-court setting at Disney’s Wide World of Sport complex was mostly sterile, the emotion was indicative of this stage of the playoffs, a rollercoaster that left the Heat three wins from the NBA Finals. Ira Winderman, sun-sentinel.com, "Butler, Adebayo push Heat past Celtics 117-114 in OT in East finals opener," 15 Sep. 2020 Anyone who has experienced premenstrual distress knows how real the emotion is. Eleanor Morgan, refinery29.com, "What Causes PMDD? Yeah, They Don’t Know," 10 Sep. 2020 In his view, the emotion is directed toward our equals. Jessica Rosenfeld, The Conversation, "‘Quarantine envy’ could finally wake people up to the deep inequalities that pervade American life," 9 Sep. 2020 It’s the one emotion whose expression inevitably marks them as having been poor Neapolitans. Elaine Blair, The New York Review of Books, "Making Order of the Breakdown," 8 Sep. 2020 Even before the pandemic, social media was linked to rising levels of the emotion. Nancy Wartik, Star Tribune, "Quarantine envy got you down? You're not alone," 31 Aug. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'emotion.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of emotion

1579, in the meaning defined at sense 2b

History and Etymology for emotion

Middle French, from emouvoir to stir up, from Old French esmovoir, from Latin emovēre to remove, displace, from e- + movēre to move

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Time Traveler for emotion

Time Traveler

The first known use of emotion was in 1579

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Statistics for emotion

Last Updated

17 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Emotion.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/emotion. Accessed 26 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for emotion


How to pronounce emotion (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of emotion

: a strong feeling (such as love, anger, joy, hate, or fear)


emo·​tion | \ i-ˈmō-shən How to pronounce emotion (audio) \

Kids Definition of emotion

: strong feeling (as anger, love, joy, or fear) often accompanied by a physical reaction She flushed with emotion.


emo·​tion | \ i-ˈmō-shən How to pronounce emotion (audio) \

Medical Definition of emotion

1 : the affective aspect of consciousness
2 : a state of feeling
3 : a conscious mental reaction (as anger or fear) subjectively experienced as strong feeling usually directed toward a specific object and typically accompanied by physiological and behavioral changes in the body — compare affect

Other Words from emotion

emotional \ -​shnəl, -​shən-​ᵊl How to pronounce emotional (audio) \ adjective
emotionality \ -​ˌmō-​shə-​ˈnal-​ət-​ē How to pronounce emotionality (audio) \ noun, plural emotionalities
emotionally \ -​ˈmō-​shnə-​lē, -​shən-​ᵊl-​ē How to pronounce emotionally (audio) \ adverb

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