Emotion Thesaurus Entry: Impatience

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.


· 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, 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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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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