Emotion Thesaurus Entry: Impatience

· Clicking one’s fingernails against a table
· Narrowing eyes, a look of intense focus that can be mistaken for anger
· A sharp tone, using as few words as possible to answer
· Attention that snaps toward small sounds or movement
· Complaining to others or mumbling under one’s breath: “Where is he?” or “What is taking so long?”
· Fussing with one’s appearance (brushing lint from a sleeve, applying lip gloss)
· Feeling exhausted or strained to the limits
· Whining, grumbling, or pouting (small children)
· Changing places to wait (crossing a room, going from sitting to standing, choosing a different chair)
· Muttering, shaking the head, talking to oneself
· Tilting the head to the ceiling and letting out a heavy sigh
· Uncrossing and recrossing one’s legs
· Veiled anger or light sarcasm

Both Annoyance and Frustration are by-products of impatience, and can exhibit similar actions when expressing this emotion. If you need more ideas, be sure to check them out!

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.


Becca Puglisi is an international speaker, writing coach, and bestselling author of The Emotion Thesaurus and its sequels. Her books are available in five languages, are sourced by US universities, and are used by novelists, screenwriters, editors, and psychologists around the world. She is passionate about learning and sharing her knowledge with others through her Writers Helping Writers blog and via One Stop For Writers—a powerhouse online library created to help writers elevate their storytelling. You can find Becca online at both of these spots, as well as on Facebook and Twitter.
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7 Responses to Emotion Thesaurus Entry: Impatience

  1. Angela can you do one on Jealousy, that’d be just what I need to finish off this manuscript. Thanks.

  2. Becca says:

    It’s so great to get good feedback. Glad the entries are helping.

  3. WordWrangler says:

    most informative and make-you-think-post… AS USUAL. You gals ROCK. 🙂

  4. C.R. Evers says:

    yet, another great list. I sat here trying to think of things and then see if it was on your list. I couldn’t think of a single thing that you don’t already have! :0)

  5. PJ Hoover says:

    I LOVE your emotion thesaurus! It’s the best thing I’ve seen like ever!

  6. Angela says:

    This post made me think about cultural differences in displaying emotions.

    Your posts always leave me thinking!

  7. Amy says:

    I can’t tell you guys how much I love this site. Your Emotion Thesaurus is fantastic (I know, I stop in to gush every once in a while…. you need to hear it, this stuff is GREAT!)


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