Synonym Chooser

How is the word affection distinct from other similar nouns?

Some common synonyms of affection are emotion, feeling, passion, and sentiment. While all these words mean "a subjective response to a person, thing, or situation," affection applies to feelings that are also inclinations or likings.

a memoir of childhood filled with affection for her family

How are the words emotion and feeling related as synonyms of affection?

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

When is feeling a more appropriate choice than affection?

Although the words feeling and affection have much in common, 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

In what contexts can passion take the place of affection?

The meanings of passion and affection largely overlap; however, passion suggests a very powerful or controlling emotion.

revenge became his ruling passion

When would sentiment be a good substitute for affection?

In some situations, the words sentiment and affection are roughly equivalent. However, sentiment often implies an emotion inspired by an idea.

her feminist sentiments are well known

Thesaurus Entries Near affection

Cite this Entry

“Affection.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Sep. 2023.

More from Merriam-Webster on affection

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!