Essential vocabulary for talking about happiness in English

Essential vocabulary for talking about happiness in EnglishOn this page, we will look at some of the important vocabulary for talking about happiness in English. If you have any other words or phrases you think should be added to this list (or if you just want to check if a sentence is correct) then post it in the comments section at the bottom of the page.

  • pleased
  • ecstatic (extremely happy)
  • thrilled
  • over the moon (an idiom with the same meaning as ecstatic)
  • overjoyed
  • overwhelmed (be careful with this word – it can also mean ‘too much of something – e.g. ‘overwhelmed with work’)
  • wonderful
  • delighted
  • cheerful
  • in high spirits (an idiom meaning to be in a good mood)
  • on cloud nine (an idiom meaning extremely happy)
  • elated
  • euphoric (intense excitement / happiness, almost like a drug)
  • exhilarated (something that causes someone to be very happy)
  • exuberant (to be full of cheerfulness, excitement and energy)

The main problem with a lot of English vocabulary is the meanings are often very similar, so here are some examples of when to use (and not use) some of the vocabulary above.

Example Explanation
John just found out that he’s won five million on the lottery! He’s very pleased. Pleased is not the right word because it is not very strong. Finding out you’ve won the lottery would make you much happier than this!
John just found out that he’s won five million on the lottery! He’s ecstatic! This is a good example
Dear Ms Johnson. We are on cloud nine about being able to offer you the position as Assistant Manager and look forward to welcoming you to the company next Monday. On cloud nine is an idiom so it doesn’t suit a formal situation like this.
Dear Ms Johnson. We are delighted to offer you the position as Assistant Manager and look forward to welcoming you to the company next Monday. This is a good example
He was wonderful when she told him she was pregnant! The construction if this sentence is not correct. You cannot ‘be wonderful’ about something (you can feel wonderful)
He was overjoyed when she told him she was pregnant! This is a good example
Jane exhilarated everyone at the party with her acrobatics – it looked so dangerous but was a lot of fun!
You can be exhilarated by something, but not someone
Jane thrilled everyone at the party with her acrobatics – it looked so dangerous but was a lot of fun! This is a good example
The boy was elated that he’d finished his homework.
Although it is technically possible, being elated is a little too strong just because he’d finished his homework.
The boy was in high spirits because he’d finished his homework. This is a good example

We hope you found this vocabulary for talking about happiness in English useful! Now move on to the next page, where we look at vocabulary related to unhappiness.

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