In the Indonesian language, there's a word called "gemas", which roughly means either:

  1. The feeling when you see something so frustrating you that you want to "choke" it so badly.

  2. The feeling when you see something so cute that you want to "choke" it so badly.

When used in context, it kinda looks like this:

  1. Ugh, I feel "gemas" when looking at that one single printer that keeps breaking, so much that I want to throw it out of the window.

  2. Awww, I feel "gemas" when looking at your cats that I want to squiiiiish them in my hug.

So this is kinda like some build-up feeling inside your chest, either quickly or slowly built up, and you feel the need to "release the steam" by doing some excessive force to the object. Is there any word in English for this? Maybe if the scope is only the first one, I think it's identical with "frustration". When I tried the google translate, it translates to "exasperation", which also fit for the first definition. But the second one is not "frustration" for sure. But I can't find any English word that fits with just the second definition either.

1 Answer 1


I don't believe we have a single English word for it. There is a term, but it isn't widely known.

It is called dimorphous expression, or "cute aggression" by psychologists and defined as "superficially aggressive behaviour caused by seeing something cute, such as a human baby or young animal". It is not real "aggression", but a primal feeling you want to squeeze them harder than you should, or perhaps bite them.

Wikipedia says of this behaviour:

"People experiencing cute aggression may grit their teeth, clench their fists, or feel the urge to pinch and squeeze something they consider cute, while not actually causing or intending to cause any harm."

I have never heard these terms used in everyday speech. If you were to use the term you would likely have to explain it. Most people would just express how they were feeling by description, perhaps using adjectives or superlatives.

A very commonly used expression is:

He/she is so cute I could just eat them up!

  • 1
    The commonly used expression example does it for me! And thank you for explaining about dimorphous expression! Jan 21, 2020 at 3:50

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