I came across cases like 'someone was overcome with emotion', and they all, in some sense, refer to a temporary feeling. For example, the sentence mentioned above uses 'emotion' to refer to the feeling at the moment that 'someone' did something or made some decision.

Is it true that the use of 'emotion' indicates a short-term feeling and whatnot a bit like an impulse?

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    Emotion usually refers to a very strong feeling. A person would find it difficult to get on with their life if they were feeling emotional all the time; they would probably be regarded as mentally ill. May 23, 2022 at 15:10
  • Do you have an example of a specific long-term feeling to which you're not sure whether the word "emotion" applies? May 23, 2022 at 18:21
  • @PatrickStevens For example, a person might be highly devoted to his belief and has always been having the strong feeling or enthusiasm that they should adhere to the doctrine, which makes they always obey what is considered right by their god. For this person, the feeling a is long-term one.
    – Michael
    May 24, 2022 at 0:15

1 Answer 1


I wouldn't necessarily agree that 'emotion' is used to describe a short-term feeling - the words 'emotion' and 'feeling' are not as interchangeable as you might think. Emotion is a kind of feeling - for example, one might say "I'm feeling emotional". Further, there are many different kinds of emotion (sadness, happiness, anger etc), just as there are many kinds of feelings that are not emotions (pain, hot, cold etc).

'A feeling' might be a short-term thing, but we use the pluralised 'feelings' to describe something longer term, for example:

I have had feelings of guilt.

Or we might instead say:

I have been feeling guilty.

In your example of "I was overcome with emotion", it isn't really the word 'emotion' that makes it a single, temporary event - it is the fact they were were overcome. They could just as easily have said "I was overcome with anger", or any other kind of feeling.

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