Emotion Thesaurus Entry: VINDICATED

Source: The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression, 2nd edition.

DEFINITION: Being proven right, absolved of guilt, or set free


  • Standing tall
  • Holding one’s head high
  • The chest being thrust out proudly
  • Drawing big, chest-expanding breaths
  • Throwing one’s head back with the eyes closed, relishing the moment
  • Smiling easily and broadly
  • Laying a fist over one’s heart and keeping it there for a moment
  • Using the hands to cover one’s smile, as if afraid to let it out
  • Shedding happy tears
  • Dancing or jumping in place
  • Nodding or closing the eyes while pressing together one’s trembling lips
  • Celebrating with loved ones (hugging, grabbing them, spinning them around, etc.)
  • Whooping and yelling
  • Clapping one’s hands
  • The posture sagging (tension letting go) before stiffening again to support the body
  • Speaking in a louder, brighter tone
  • Having an open body posture (arms flung out wide, legs apart, head thrown back, etc.)
  • Taunting one’s enemies; rubbing the victory in their faces
  • Bowing one’s head in a silent prayer of thanks
  • Feeling jittery in one’s extremities
  • Pumping the fists
  • Taking a victory lap
  • Squatting down and hugging oneself
  • Expressing cautious hope (if one is skeptical and has been disappointed before)
  • Constant smiling
  • The voice rising in pitch
  • Pursuing goals or dreams one was previously afraid to go after
  • Speaking out in circumstances where one wasn’t previously comfortable doing so


  • A rush of adrenaline
  • Heart flutters
  • Feeling highly energetic; needing to move
  • A lack of sleepiness
  • A sense of exhaustion as the realization hits that one can finally rest in safety and peace
  • Euphoria
  • A sensation of being washed with a wave of peace and contentment
  • The face feeling stretched from nonstop smiling


  • Having an optimistic outlook
  • The world looking suddenly brighter and more beautiful
  • Noticing details one missed before
  • Scattered thoughts
  • Difficulty focusing on any one thing
  • A renewed sense of faith in God, humanity, the system, etc.
  • A cessation of fear at the realization that the future is brighter for oneself and one’s children


  • Becoming braver; taking on opposition or challenges one wouldn’t have before
  • Attempting to help others who might need vindicating
  • Seeking further reparations Increased self-confidence
  • Positive personal changes (eating healthier, taking time for oneself, etc.)
  • Getting cocky
  • Becoming an inspiration for others
  • Thinking about the future when one was previously unable to do so


  • A hidden smile that keeps trying to break through
  • Forcing one’s body to be still
  • Clasping one’s hands to keep them from twitching
  • Keeping the head down to hide any telltale signs
  • Taking calming breaths
  • Turning away or making a quick exit
  • Biting one’s lip to keep from speaking
  • Lessened productivity due to the distraction of this meaningful victory
  • Sharing darting glances with the people who are on one’s side

MAY ESCALATE TO: Confidence, Euphoria, Satisfaction, Fearlessness

MAY DE-ESCALATE TO: Anger, Defeat, Despair, Determination, Disappointment, Discouraged, Disillusionment, Emasculated, Frustration, Hopefulness, Powerlessness, Resentment, Resignation, Skepticism

ASSOCIATED POWER VERBS: Beam, celebrate, clasp, congratulate, dance, expand, flourish, give thanks, hug, jump, party, revel, sag, shout, sigh, swell, whirl, whoop

WRITER’S TIP: Some emotions, like confusion, should be shorter-lived or paired with another feeling. If the POV character is disoriented for too long, readers may struggle to follow what’s happening in the scene.

The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression (Second Edition) is a one-of-a-kind resource that helps writers brainstorm stronger, more compelling descriptions of emotion. Visit this link to view the list of 130 emotions included in this book.

Find the purchasing options here.


1 Comment
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments