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3 English Emotion Words That Will Make You Sound like a Native Speaker

Posted by Lindsay McMahon on Mon, Dec 16, 2013 @ 05:07 PM

English vocabulary words-describe emotionsDo you ever feel that you want to be able to express your own emotions or describe someone else's emotions using more advanced English vocabulary words?

Perhaps you are at the upper-intermediate level and you want to go deeper and sound more sophisticated.

This article will help you do that.

Today we have a guest lesson from David F. James from The Vocabulary Blog.

David a private English teacher, based in England.


Here is David's lesson:

Words that describe human feelings, emotions or character are always an important part of our vocabulary. Generally people love talking about other people, so it is good to have a large reservoir of words to accurately describe a particular emotion or personality trait.


Let's look at three words that help us to do that: ALOOF, DEJECTED and ECSTATIC.



#1) Aloof


aloof English vocabulary wordAloof is an adjective that describes a person who is distant, either physically or emotionally.

It comes from a nautical word in Dutch conveying the idea of keeping a distance from a wind which would blow a ship towards the shore.

To describe someone as aloof means the person doesn't connect easily with other people.

They may seem unfriendly or on a higher level so they appear not to understand the situation of others.



Here are examples of the word in use:


  • "One of the criticisms made of Margaret Thatcher, the British Prime Minister, was that she appeared to be aloof at times. Rightly or wrongly, many ordinary people didn't think she understood their difficult circumstances."


  • "The teacher maintained a quiet dignity in class without being aloof."


A word of caution: To describe someone as aloof is not very complimentary. Be careful how you use the word and who you say it to. It can be a useful word if you are in a position of responsibility such as a teacher or a manager and you are asked to assess a pupil or an employee.




#2) Dejected

dejected, sad

Dejected means to be low in spirits, feeling down, sad because of a failure or loss.

The word comes from a Latin word meaning "a throwing down."

A person who is dejected will often convey it through their body language - a gloomy face, stooped posture, shoulders dropped.


It is often connected with a failure of some kind.



Here are two examples:


  • "Andy Murray looked so dejected after losing to Novak Djokovic in the 2013 Australian Open tennis tournament."


  • "It was distressing to see a group of dejected, homeless people huddled around the fire on such a bitterly cold night."




#3) Ecstatic


ecstatic emotionEcstatic is an adjective describing an intense emotion of joy and delight.

The feeling can be so intense it can be likened to a trance when a person is so enraptured or caught up in the emotion of the moment they are unaware of what is going on around them.

Ecstatic comes from a Greek word meaning "unstable" relating to some mystical experience that completely absorbs a person.

The modern connotation is one of intense, pleasurable emotions.


Here are some examples:


  • "After trying to have a baby for over 4 years, she was ecstatic when the doctor confirmed she was pregnant."


  • "Miss Philippines, Meagan Young, was ecstatic as she was crowned Miss World at the global beauty pageant."


  • "Her 15 year old daughter was ecstatic at getting a place right in the front at the Justin Bieber concert."

Considering the depth of intensity with this word, we are advised not to use it frequently, to avoid weakening its power. Wait for something extraordinary before using the word 'ecstatic'.



How can you practice these?


Here is a way to make these words a part of your permanent vocabulary. Think about your friends and family.

Is there anyone you would describe as aloof?

Has there been a time when someone you know was dejected?

Can you think of a time in your life when you were ecstatic?


Link specific examples to these words in your own life and you will have taken a major step toward adding them to your active vocabulary.




Speak English with Confidence NOW




Today's article was contributed by David F. James. David teaches English online as a personal trainer. He writes every week on The Vocabulary Blog.


Photo credit: Top photo: Arwen Abendstern, tennis player: toga, dog- saratogajean Aloof- Jimmy_Joe,

Topics: English Lessons, Vocabulary Workshop

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