Definition of emotion in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ɪˈməʊʃ(ə)n/


1A strong feeling deriving from one’s circumstances, mood, or relationships with others: she was attempting to control her emotions [mass noun]: his voice was shaky with emotion
More example sentences
  • She loves the fact that there is an intensity about holidays that can spark strong emotions.
  • It allows you to have strong emotions and opinions without any real risk to yourself.
  • There has been an attempt to defuse aggressive emotions and any desire for revenge.
1.1 [mass noun] Instinctive or intuitive feeling as distinguished from reasoning or knowledge: responses have to be based on historical insight, not simply on emotion
More example sentences
  • The path down is usually the feminine journey, which brings us to emotion, instinct and intuition.
  • Life today is guided not by logic and reason but rather by emotion, fear and sentimentality.
  • Since Plato, many philosophers have sought to make a sharp distinction between reason and emotion.
instinct, intuition, gut feeling, inclination;
sentiment, sentimentality, the heart;
tenderness, softness, soft-heartedness, tender-heartedness


Mid 16th century (denoting a public disturbance): from French émotion, from émouvoir 'excite', based on Latin emovere, from e- (variant of ex-) 'out' + movere 'move'. The current sense dates from the early 19th century.

  • The modern meaning of emotion is surprisingly recent and very different from its original sense. In the 16th century the word first meant ‘a public disturbance or commotion’, as in ‘There were…great stirs and emotions in Lombardy’ (1579). The root is Latin movere, ‘to move’, and the second sense was ‘a movement or migration’. The main current meaning of ‘a strong feeling such as joy or anger’ was not used in writing until the early 1800s. The emoticon, a blend of emotion and icon dates from the 1990s.

Words that rhyme with emotion

commotion, devotion, groschen, Laotian, locomotion, lotion, motion, notion, Nova Scotian, ocean, potion, promotion

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: emo|tion

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.