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[ih-moh-shuh n] /ɪˈmoʊ ʃən/
an affective state of consciousness in which joy, sorrow, fear, hate, or the like, is experienced, as distinguished from cognitive and volitional states of consciousness.
any of the feelings of joy, sorrow, fear, hate, love, etc.
any strong agitation of the feelings actuated by experiencing love, hate, fear, etc., and usually accompanied by certain physiological changes, as increased heartbeat or respiration, and often overt manifestation, as crying or shaking.
an instance of this.
something that causes such a reaction:
the powerful emotion of a great symphony.
Origin of emotion
1570-80; apparently < Middle French esmotion, derived on the model of movoir: motion, from esmovoir to set in motion, move the feelings < Vulgar Latin *exmovēre, for Latin ēmovēre; see e-1, move, motion
Related forms
emotionable, adjective
emotionless, adjective
preemotion, noun
Synonym Study
1. See feeling. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for emotions
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He had come of a people which had to do with essentials in the matter of emotions.

  • For a long time he sat, too exhausted by his emotions to think.

    Still Jim Honor Willsie Morrow
  • But he was Spanish enough in the expression of his emotions.

    His Unknown Wife Louis Tracy
  • There were no resources for them in emotions of valour or patriotism.

    Deerbrook Harriet Martineau
  • In the present instance, however, he showed but imperfect control of his emotions.

British Dictionary definitions for emotions


any strong feeling, as of joy, sorrow, or fear
Derived Forms
emotionless, adjective
Word Origin
C16: from French, from Old French esmovoir to excite, from Latin ēmovēre to disturb, from movēre to move
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for emotions



1570s, "a (social) moving, stirring, agitation," from Middle French émotion (16c.), from Old French emouvoir "stir up" (12c.), from Latin emovere "move out, remove, agitate," from ex- "out" (see ex-) + movere "to move" (see move (v.)). Sense of "strong feeling" is first recorded 1650s; extended to any feeling by 1808.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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emotions in Medicine

emotion e·mo·tion (ĭ-mō'shən)
An intense mental state that arises subjectively rather than through conscious effort and is often accompanied by physiological changes.

e·mo'tion·al adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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emotions in Science
A psychological state that arises spontaneously rather than through conscious effort and is sometimes accompanied by physiological changes; a feeling.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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