When I was reading The First Phone Call From Heaven, I found the following sentence

"She felt her chest well up as if she were going to cry".

Supposing the meaning from the context, this sentence seems meaning to say "She was moved", but is this interpretation correct?"

Sorry for gramatically incorrect sentences cuz I'm poor at grammer.

2 Answers 2


This is a very non-standard expression. The standard expression is that someone's eyes well up when they are feeling a strong emotion. To "well up" means to fill with water, so when your eyes "well up," then they are filling with tears and you are about to cry.

For someone's chest to "well up" does not make much sense, since their chest is (hopefully!) not filling up with water, but I suspect that the author is familiar with idea of the eyes welling up with tears, and applied that the the sort of chest-tightening you might feel when you are about to cry.

Again, this is not a standard expression at all and I would not advise you to use it yourself.


You are on the right track. It means there was a

strong emotional reaction

possibly more than just

feeling moved

depending on what your definition of "moved" is.

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