Synonym Chooser

How is the word emotion distinct from other similar nouns?

Some common synonyms of emotion are affection, feeling, passion, and sentiment. While all these words mean "a subjective response to a person, thing, or situation," 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 might affection be a better fit than emotion?

While in some cases nearly identical to emotion, affection applies to feelings that are also inclinations or likings.

a memoir of childhood filled with affection for her family

Where would feeling be a reasonable alternative to emotion?

The meanings of feeling and emotion largely overlap; however, 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

When is it sensible to use passion instead of emotion?

While the synonyms passion and emotion are close in meaning, passion suggests a very powerful or controlling emotion.

revenge became his ruling passion

When is sentiment a more appropriate choice than emotion?

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

her feminist sentiments are well known

Thesaurus Entries Near emotion

Cite this Entry

“Emotion.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 May. 2024.

More from Merriam-Webster on emotion

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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