Emotion Thesarus Entry: Somberness

  • Becoming soft-spoken, devoid of emotion, deadpan
  • A dark or weighted outlook
  • Folding the hands in the lap
  • Flaccid yet unwelcoming body language
  • A monotone voice
  • Dark or heavy observations
  • A bleak mood that affects others, lessens energy, brings people down
  • Drab or plain clothing choices
  • A grim twist to the mouth
  • Difficulty engaging in conversation
  • Sedate mannerisms, minimal or economical movement
  • Becoming unresponsive, distracted
  • Accepting a negative outcome or realization
  • Loss of interest in the usual hobbies or entertainments…

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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8 Responses to Emotion Thesarus Entry: Somberness

  1. Angela says:

    PJ: Woot! How was your road trip?

  2. PJ Hoover says:

    I recommend your blog to everyone I know!

  3. Angela says:

    Thanks, Christy! We’re so glad that you are getting so much out of this blog!!

  4. Angela says:

    Thanks guys. I admit, this one was difficult for me, because the expression of this emotion is less exuberant than other emotions. If anyone has any actions to add, please do so in the comments, with our thanks!

  5. So many meanings for one word. Thanks for the great list!


  6. Becca says:

    Well yay! Thanks so much, Christy!

  7. C.R. Evers says:

    Once again, another great list! This is why I nominated you on my blog today for the “I love your blog” award. :0)

    I think you may have already had this passed to you, but you deserve another nomination for all your hard work! :0)


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