Emotion Thesaurus Entry: Disappointment

When it comes to emotion, sometimes we need a brainstorming nudge. After all, each character will express their feelings differently depending on their personality, emotional range, and comfort zone. We hope this short, sample list of expressions will help you better imagine how your character might show this emotion!

If you need to go deeper, we have detailed lists of body language, visceral sensations, dialogue cues, and mental responses for 130 emotions in the 2019 expanded second edition of The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression.


· Chin dipping to the chest
· Lips pressing tight, eyes focusing inward
· Looking up with hands raised in the ‘why me?’ position
· Collapsing onto a chair or bench
· Weaving slightly
· Avoiding other peoples’ eyes, going stone-faced
· Eyes tearing up
· Eyes closing, squeezing shut for a moment
· A wincing, pained expression
· Looking around in confusion
· Attempting to hide (assuming the fetal position, covering the head with the arms)
· Clutching at oneself (gripping elbows, rubbing arms, clenching hands)
· A stomach that drops, a sudden feeling of nausea
· Pressing a hand to the abdomen
· Anger or violence (cursing loudly, hitting something, a tense walk in a small circle)…

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

If you struggle with writing emotions, you aren’t alone. The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression has helped writers all over the globe, and it can help you. To find out more about this bestselling book, please visit our bookstore.

Prefer the flexibility of instant online access and greater searchability?

The Emotion Thesaurus is also at our sister site, One Stop for Writers. Visit the Emotion Thesaurus Page to view our complete list of entries.

TIP: While you’re there, check out our hyper-intelligent Character Builder that helps you create deep, memorable characters in half the time!



Angela is a writing coach, international speaker, and bestselling author who loves to travel, teach, empower writers, and pay-it-forward. She also is a founder of One Stop For Writers, an online library packed with powerful tools to help writers elevate their storytelling.
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4 Responses to Emotion Thesaurus Entry: Disappointment

  1. Pingback: Resources For Describing Emotion – SpiritofCamelot

  2. Lily Smith says:

    9 years later, still helpful. Thanks so much!

  3. Mary Witzl says:

    Ooh — I should have come here when I was rewriting chapter fourteen last week? They really help!

    Whenever I try to picture how characters look when feeling certain emotions, I am told that I make weird noises and contort my facial expressions. It’s probably better for me to get my writing done while the kids are out of the house…

  4. Luc2 says:

    Great list again, Muses.

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