affecting 1 of 3


2 of 3

verb (1)

present participle of affect


3 of 3

verb (2)

present participle of affect

Synonym Chooser

How is the word affecting distinct from other similar adjectives?

Some common synonyms of affecting are impressive, moving, pathetic, poignant, and touching. While all these words mean "having the power to produce deep emotion," affecting is close to moving but most often suggests pathos.

an affecting deathbed reunion

When might impressive be a better fit than affecting?

The synonyms impressive and affecting are sometimes interchangeable, but impressive implies compelling attention, admiration, wonder, or conviction.

an impressive list of achievements

When is it sensible to use moving instead of affecting?

Although the words moving and affecting have much in common, moving may apply to any strong emotional effect including thrilling, agitating, saddening, or calling forth pity or sympathy.

a moving appeal for contributions

When could pathetic be used to replace affecting?

While the synonyms pathetic and affecting are close in meaning, pathetic implies moving to pity or sometimes contempt.

pathetic attempts to justify misconduct

When is poignant a more appropriate choice than affecting?

The meanings of poignant and affecting largely overlap; however, poignant applies to what keenly or sharply affects one's sensitivities.

a poignant documentary on the homeless

When would touching be a good substitute for affecting?

In some situations, the words touching and affecting are roughly equivalent. However, touching implies arousing tenderness or compassion.

the touching innocence in a child's eyes

Thesaurus Entries Near affecting

Cite this Entry

“Affecting.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Dec. 2023.

More from Merriam-Webster on affecting

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