Emotion Thesaurus Entry: Indignation

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.


· Exhaling impatiently, snorting
· Sputtering, stuttering over words, speaking in broken sentences
· Speechlessness
· Vehement denial, even in the face of logic
· Breaking eye contact
· Throwing one’s hands in the air
· Crossing the arms over the chest
· Walking away
· Eyes bulging or blinking rapidly
· The mouth dropping open
· Sharp, spastic movements (hands/arms jerking about, interrupted pacing, opening and closing fists)
· Slapping one’s hands over the top of the head
· Becoming defensive: “How dare you!” or “How could you say such a thing?”…

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!



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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12 years ago

The “lips pressed thin” part reminds me of a teacher I once had. She’d compress her mouth until it was nearly invisible, then train a stare of cold, suppressed rage on you. We used to call it the Evil Eye.

12 years ago

I think taking a deep sharp breath and with that puffing up the chest is another one, at least for us guys.

12 years ago

I just wanted to tell you that you are such a great teacher! I get so much out of your blog. Also, thanks again for your wonderful critique. It has helped me, greatly.


P.S. I hope you get your cottage one day. But, still keep visiting mine!