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You've probably got this feeling while riding a roller coaster, that moment you suddenly fall to the bottom of a curve. It's like your heart and your stomach are being pulled down. I get this every day while going to work on my bike. On my way to work, there is this U-shaped curve in the street. Every time I get down to the bottom of this and then go up, I feel this tickling feeling which kind of makes me gasp for a moment. What's this feeling in English? If there is no particular word for this how do you describe it in English?

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    Funnily enough, the phrase is exactly as you describe it: "It's like your heart and your stomach are being pulled down. It's like my heart drops into my stomach." That phrase generates more imagery, but if you want a single word, you could also say, "freefall." – Teacher KSHuang Mar 30 '17 at 10:35
  • See also: english.stackexchange.com/questions/48534/… – Davo Mar 30 '17 at 12:14
  • It sounds like you're actually asking about the feeling you get when you've been going down and you suddenly start to go up, right? It's also the feeling you get when you're in an airplane the moment that it takes off. – Tanner Swett Apr 22 '17 at 21:25
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When you feel the bottom drop out, that's when you suddenly feel nothing beneath you and you are in a momentary free fall.

https://english.stackexchange.com/questions/230753/bottom-dropped-out

The bottom could drop out for someone who is being executed by hanging. The bottom could also drop out for the stock market, meaning the market is doing poorly. Or on an amusement ride, when the ride begins to drop rapidly, you could say, "I felt the bottom drop out."

If you are going over the top of a hill or rollercoaster quickly, you could feel your stomach drop or stomach sink. In actuality, it's probably the sensation of all your internal organs shifting slightly in your ribcage as your body defies gravity for a few seconds.

An article entitled How Roller Coasters Work says:

This is what gives you that unique sinking feeling in your stomach; your stomach is suddenly very light because there is less force pushing on it.

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It's called motion sickness, although we usually limit that name to when the disagreement between what our optic and vestibular systems are telling us about our motion is in such violent disagreement that it induces nausea and discomfort instead of just minor lightheadedness and vertigo.

You could call it minor motion sickness, which it is, but people may probably think less of you for it either because they think you're whinging about a minor discomfort or because they think you should be able to handle a bike ride without incident. You could call it a sensation of kinetosis, since that means motion sickness but no one knows that. They'll just be impressed or put off by your vocabulary and leave it at that.

Finally, you could go with an expressive phrase but, pace Ringo, there really aren't any set ones. Remember, though, heart or stomach in my throat is usually talking about nervousness or fear rather than motion sickness.

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  • I think "motion sickness" usually refers to being sick from riding in a car or from a tumultuous boat ride. The feeling of riding in a rollercoaster or one of those rides where you fall from a great height is a different feeling, I think. – Ringo Apr 22 '17 at 20:05
  • @Ringo ... like in the first paragraph of what I wrote, yeah. The physiological mechanism is the same but we usually restrict the term for it to the incapacitating version. – lly Apr 22 '17 at 21:36
  • I would say the roller coaster is very incapacitating for some people, who are so frightened that all they can do is clutch the safety bar and hold on as hard as they can. – Ringo Apr 22 '17 at 22:20
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As Teacher KSHuang wrote in a comment:

Funnily enough, the phrase is exactly as you describe it: "It's like your heart and your stomach are being pulled down. It's like my heart drops into my stomach." That phrase generates more imagery, but if you want a single word, you could also say, "freefall."

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You could use the word thrill, which means any sudden feeling of excitement or pleasant surprise. When you say it's a "tickling feeling which kind of makes me gasp for a moment", that definitely sounds like a thrill.

The word shock is similar, but that word means a sudden feeling of fear or unpleasant surprise.

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Could you call it “your heart skipping a beat” in terms of the suddenly receiving bad news? I’m pretty sure I’ve seen that phrased used that way before.

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