Vocabulary in English

8 Better Words for “Happy” Plus 33 More Positive Emotion Adjectives & Idioms

8 Better Words for Happy Plus 33 More Positive Emotion Adjectives & Idioms

Today, you’re going to learn 41 positive emotion adjectives and idioms to describe happy emotions. For more positive English words, check out 59 Positive Personality Adjectives!

Do you ever find yourself saying this:

“I’m so happy. I mean … I’m really, really happy. This makes me so happy. I’m happy — are you happy? I’m happy!”

It sounds like you need some synonyms for “happy.”

Today, I’m going to show you how to stop repeating yourself when you’re talking about positive feelings.

By the end of this lesson, you’ll be able to stop repeating yourself when you want to say that you’re feeling:

  1. Happy
  2. Excited
  3. Surprised
  4. Interested
  5. Satisfied
  6. Emotional
  7. Relaxed

So let’s get started.

Free test - Gymglish with Clark and Miller

1. Happy

other words for happy: a happy woman
Yep. She’s definitely happy.

More Words for “Happy”

Pleased — This word means between “happy” and “satisfied.” Very often, you’re pleased with a particular thing. Like your exam results. Or the hippo dancing.

Cheerful — This is when someone is visibly happy. They walk into the room, and you can see it in the way they walk, what they say and the massive smile on their face.

Exuberant — This is like cheerful — but even stronger.

Euphoric — When you’re intensely happy. This is when all you can feel is your own happiness. It really is a very strong feeling.

Merry — This is a little like cheerful. Usually, when you’re feeling merry, you might be in quite a playful mood as well. We often associate this with how you feel after a couple of glasses of wine.

Overjoyed — This simply means “very happy.”

Elated — Somewhere between “happy” and “overjoyed.”

Glad — “Glad” is similar to “pleased.” Usually, you’re glad about something in particular. Like the wonderful news. Or the football result.

Bonus Idioms — Happy

Actually, there are quite a few idioms to describe being happy. Here are some of the more common ones:

On cloud nine
On top of the world
In high spirits
As happy as Larry

You may have noticed that most of these refer to being somewhere high up. Which makes sense, right?

The Larry idiom? Well, that doesn’t make sense. I mean — who’s Larry, and why’s he so happy?

Ah… English!

Words for “Happy” on a Scale

At the top: you’ve just won the lottery, and your doctor has told you that you have a genetic condition that means you can NEVER put on weight.

At the bottom: you’re at the supermarket, and you’ve found a till with no queue.

Words for happy: euphoric, overjoyed, elated, exuberant, merry, cheerful, pleased, glad

2. Excited

Take a look at this picture. How would you describe her?

other words for excited: an excited woman

How many words did you find?

Here are some more!

More Words for “Excited”

Click to listen

Thrilled — This just means “very excited.” You can also use it to mean “happy,” like, “We’re thrilled you’re going to come and visit us at our ant factory.”

Charged — Imagine you’re about to do a parachute jump. How do you feel? This is like “excited” but has more adrenaline. More tension.

Pumped — “Pumped” is kind of similar to “charged.” You’re excited AND ready for an intense situation, like a dangerous mountain biking trail or a heavy game of kangaroo wrestling.

Words for “Excited” on a Scale

Because some words are just too strong for some situations and others are just too weak, I’m going to add a scale for each word in this lesson.

The scale ranges from “going to a new cafe” (not very exciting… but kind of exciting. A bit) to “preparing to fight a massive bear” (so exciting that it’s kind of terrifying).

So the “red zone” is something you might want to avoid unless your lifestyle is pretty extreme.

Words for excited: pumped, charged, thrilled
Small print: These may vary slightly depending on the situation and who’s talking.

3. Surprised

other words for surprised: a surprised child

Yes! You guessed it! She’s surprised!

More Words for “Surprised”

Astonished — Just “very surprised”

Astounded — I’d say that this is even stronger than “astonished.” It’s got an element of shock. Maybe you look a bit like this:

via GIPHY

Amazed — You probably already know this one. It’s like “surprised,” but there’s an air of magic to it. Like that time when you first saw a unicorn. What? You haven’t seen a unicorn yet? Well … you’ll be amazed.

Startled — This can be a bit negative sometimes. “Startled” has a feeling of shock and even alarm to it. I always think of that feeling when you’re at home, and you think no one is there. You go to the kitchen for a cup of tea, and you see your flatmate there. You thought she was out, right? How do you feel? Startled!

Taken aback — This is usually a bit more negative as well. Again, it’s on that line between “shocked” and “surprised.”

Dumbstruck — Very, very surprised. Maybe so surprised that you can’t speak.

Bonus Idiom — “Surprised”

My jaw dropped — This is about the same as “astounded.”

We also have the adjective “jaw-dropping.” Like, “Did you see that magician? Absolutely jaw-dropping! I mean … how did she make your wallet disappear completely? And then run away? Amazing!”

Words for “Surprised” on a Scale

Again — we’re going from “weak surprise” to “strong surprise.”

Weak surprise is when your friend has a new hat.

Strong surprise is when you get home, and your house is suddenly a zebra.

Words for surprised: dumbstruck, astounded, amazed, astonished, taken aback, startled

4. Interested

other words for interested: an interested man

OK. How does he feel?

How many words can you use?

Here are some more!

More Words for “Interested”

Captivated — You know that feeling when you can’t stop looking at something? Like that perfect musical performance. Or one of those films that you watch, and you can never really understand what’s happening. But you just keep watching. Because you’re interested — or “captivated.”

Fascinated — Very interested

Absorbed — This is when you’re completely “stuck inside” something. Have you ever had that feeling when you’ve been so interested in a book you’re reading that you miss your bus stop? That — exactly that — is “absorbed.”

Engrossed — This is basically the same as absorbed.

Bonus Idiom — Interested

On the edge of your seat — When you’re just really interested in what’s happening. I always imagine sitting in the cinema, so interested in the film I’m watching that I’m literally sitting on the (front) edge of my seat.

Words for “Interested” on a Scale

Weak interest is when your best friend wants to tell you about their job interview. It’s kind of interesting because it’s your friend. Even though the interview itself isn’t interesting.

Strong interest is that film. We all have one of those films. It’s that film.

Words for interested: engrossed, captivated, absorbed, fascinated

5. Satisfied

other words for satisfied: a girl with a teddy bear

Oooh… You’ve got what you want, and it feels good!

But how many words can you use to describe it?

More Words for “Satisfied”

Fulfilled — That special feeling you get from being satisfied with your life — maybe it’s work; maybe it’s family; maybe it’s helping homeless rabbits.

Gratified — This is more or less the same as “satisfied.”

Satiated — We usually use it to describe feeling satisfied after a meal.

Words for “Satisfied” on a Scale

At the top, we have “completing a 5-year degree course.”

At the bottom, we have that feeling after a good cup of tea.

Words for satisfied: fulfilled, gratified, satiated

You may have noticed that there’s no “red zone” here. Well, it seems we don’t have many common words meaning “extremely satisfied.”

6. Emotional

other words for emotional: an emotional man

We all get that feeling sometimes, right? When our feelings and emotions take over.

Sometimes, it can feel great, can’t it?

More Words for “Emotional”

Moved — It simply means “emotionally affected.” For example, when we watch a powerful drama, or when someone buys us flowers unexpectedly.

Overwhelmed — This is when something gets too much for us. Have you ever suddenly started crying with happiness when you weren’t expecting it? You could say you were overwhelmed with emotion. This can be used for negative situations as well as positive ones.

Overcome — It’s basically the same as “overwhelmed.”

Impassioned — This is another way of saying “very emotional.”

Words for “Emotional” on a Scale

Low-level emotional is when your favourite TV show is doing a double-length episode this week.

And high-level emotional is “everyone you’ve ever met has decided to throw a party for you and tell you how awesome you are.” (Hmmm… maybe that’s a bit creepy, but you get the idea!)

Words for emotional: overwhelmed, overcome, impassioned, moved

7. Relaxed

other words for relaxed: a relaxed woman reading by a lake

Oh, yeah. That’s the life.

OK. This is the last one. Before you read on … how many words do you know for relaxed?

More Words for “Relaxed”

Chilled out — You’re by the pool. You’ve got your favourite cocktail in your hand. There are no kids anywhere. You can hear the waves of the sea hitting the beach nearby. How do feel? Yep. Me too.

Calm — This one means relaxed, but it also means “not stressed” or “not angry.”

Soothed — If “calm” means “not angry/stressed,” then “soothed” means “not angry/stressed anymore.” In order to be “soothed,” you need to be angry/stressed first. Then you see the cat video, and you calm down.

Content — You know that feeling when you feel very happy with your life. Sure, you could have a bit more money, and maybe life would be a bit better if that guy in the office didn’t sing so much. But generally speaking, you’re happy and (this is the important part) you don’t want anything more. Everything’s fine the way it is. That’s “content.”

Tranquil — Remember the feeling you had by the pool? Now be 10 times more relaxed. Now you’re tranquil. Congratulations!

Serene — This one is more or less the same as “tranquil.”

Composed — You know that guy who’s always really calm, but not in that pool-side way — more in that focused, dynamic way? You could tell him that there was a bomb in his trousers, and instead of panicking he’d just figure out a way to control the situation. Never panics, never gets emotional … He’s composed.

Words for “Relaxed” on a Scale

Super relaxed is when you’ve actually just left your body.

Mildly relaxed is when you thought you had to wash a few plates. But it looks like someone else has already done it.

Words for relaxed: serene, tranquil, chilled out, composed, soothed, calm, content


So now you can talk about your feelings with these positive emotion adjectives. Good work!

But I want to make sure you’ve understood these well.

So, in the comments below, can you tell me about a time when you felt thrilled, on the edge of your seat or merry.

I’d love to hear your stories!

Did you find this useful? Do you know any people (or dolphins) that might also benefit from this? Then BE AWESOME AND SHARE! Spread the knowledge!


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6 thoughts on “8 Better Words for “Happy” Plus 33 More Positive Emotion Adjectives & Idioms

  1. Well Gabriel I should say I´m thrilled and certainly in high spirits when I´ve got your post.
    Thank you so much.

  2. I loved the explanations of words thousand times given in lists of synonyms that are useless without exploring their shades. The scales are great for that purpose and I had fun with them. Nice post and it must had been hard work, you rock! Great post, Gabriel, thank you again.

  3. Wow! What a great article! Not only is it really useful since most people get stuck with the same ones but it was a fun read as well, thank you! I will definitely share ?

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