emotion

noun

emo·​tion i-ˈmō-shən How to pronounce emotion (audio)
1
a
: 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
2
b
obsolete : disturbance
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

Example Sentences

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.
Recent Examples on the Web And, to a certain extent, what harm is there in playing with emotion and having fun? The Indianapolis Star, 20 Jan. 2023 Wilder explained all of this to Goodwin, who was overcome with emotion at the realization. Alex Ross, Peoplemag, 17 Jan. 2023 From late antiquity onward, Adam was commonly associated with reason and Eve with emotion. Michael Dirda, Washington Post, 5 Jan. 2023 The collapse of Buffalo Bills’ safety Damar Hamlin on the field Monday night shocked fans and left his teammates overcome with emotion, crying and huddling together as paramedics performed CPR loading Hamlin into an ambulance. Solcyre Burga, Time, 4 Jan. 2023 Players and coaches from around the league were overcome with emotion while watching Hamlin be resuscitated back to life Monday night during Buffalo’s game at Cincinnati. Nicole Fallert, USA TODAY, 4 Jan. 2023 Jen Clark was overcome with emotion and began to cry. Journal Sentinel, 28 Nov. 2022 There’s been an enormous collective outpouring of emotion occasioned by the death of Tatjana Patitz. Laird Borrelli-persson, Vogue, 12 Jan. 2023 Speaking of genuine displays of emotion, after White Lotus winner Jennifer Coolidge ended her epic acceptance speech, the show cut to commercial as the ballroom audience erupted with a standing ovation for the veteran actress. Chris Gardner, The Hollywood Reporter, 11 Jan. 2023 See More

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.

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

1579, in the meaning defined at sense 2b

Time Traveler
The first known use of emotion was in 1579

Dictionary Entries Near emotion

Cite this Entry

“Emotion.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/emotion. Accessed 2 Feb. 2023.

Kids Definition

emotion

noun
emo·​tion i-ˈmō-shən How to pronounce emotion (audio)
1
: strong feeling : excitement
2
: a mental reaction (as anger or fear) marked by strong feeling and usually causing physical effects

Medical Definition

emotion

noun
emo·​tion i-ˈmō-shən How to pronounce emotion (audio)
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
emotional adjective
emotionality noun
plural emotionalities

More from Merriam-Webster on emotion

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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


The Great British Vocabulary Quiz

  • union jack speech bubble
  • Named after Sir Robert Peel, what are British police called?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Solve today's spelling word game by finding as many words as you can with using just 7 letters. Longer words score more points.

Can you make 12 words with 7 letters?

PLAY