Emotion Thesaurus Entry: Stubbornness

· A hard shake of the head
· Swiping the arm across the air between yourself and another in an “enough!” gesture
· Sarcasm, bitter words, insults
· A tightness in the face
· Thrusting the chin upward
· Making fists at one’s sides
· Anger (shaking, shouting)
· Squared shoulders, rigid muscles
· Refusing to listen
· Thrusting out one’s lip
· A sullen glower or glare
· A temper tantrum (kicking, screaming, drumming feet onto the floor, jumping up and down in place)
· Single-minded determination, a keen focus on one’s goal despite pitfalls or opposition…

Win your readers’ hearts by tailoring your character’s emotional responses so they’re compelling, credible, and realistic.

If you struggle with writing emotions like so many writers do, you’ll be happy to know that this sample has been expanded into book form. The full list of physical, internal, and mental cues for this and 74 other emotions can be found in The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression. For more information on this bestselling book and where it can be found, please visit our bookstore.

And the news gets better: we’ve added 15 entries to this collection, including grief, lust, and self-loathing. To access these, simply visit our online library at One Stop For Writers. There, you’ll find all 90 entries from our popular Emotion Thesaurus, which have been updated and enhanced to provide even greater value. Users also enjoy the flexibility of cross-referenced material for easy searchability across all of our completed thesaurus collections. Interested in viewing a sample? Register for free at One Stop, and see what this innovative online library can do for your storytelling.


Angela is an international speaker and bestselling author who loves to travel, teach, empower writers, and pay-it-forward. She also enjoys dreaming up new tools and resources for One Stop For Writers, a library built to help writers elevate their storytelling.
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6 Responses to Emotion Thesaurus Entry: Stubbornness

  1. JJ Cooper says:

    Not a bad list of indicators. I think it should be noted that these indicators are not indicative of ‘stubborness’ when read in isolation. Verbal, vocal and non-verbal communication may conflict for a variety of reasons. Nervousness may be a cause of crossed arms, stubbornness or even the subject being cold; the subject may just feel comfortable crossing his/her arms.

    What I’m trying to say in a nutshell is that you need to consider these indicators if/when they come in clusters and not necessarily in isolation. Still, this list is a good start.


  2. Ghost Girl says:

    Like creative a, I found myself in that list. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Creative A says:

    Nice. A lot of these actually reminded me of the way I act when I’m frustrated…walking away, tight jaw, etc. I love your whole thesaurus idea *thumbs up*

  4. Donna says:

    Subtle facial gestures can also portray stubbornness. For instance, a cock of the eyebrow or an eyeroll.

  5. I favor fingers-in-ears-saying-“Lalalalala–I can’t HEAR YOU!”

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