Idioms for Basic Emotions: Disgust, Surprise & Anger

Idioms for Basic Emotions: Disgust, Surprise & Anger

Did you see, hear or taste anything disgusting lately? Did anything make you angry or surprised? Read this article to learn vocabulary that will help you accurately describe the feelings…


Idioms & AdjectivesMeaningExamples
stomach-churningmaking you feel that you want to vomit because it is so horribleThe team daily faces stomach-churning crime scenes.
off-putting not pleasant, in a way that prevents you from liking somebody/somethingThe noise was extremely off-putting.
to put someone offto be off-puttingDon’t be put off by how it looks – it tastes delicious.
beyond the pale(of someone’s behavior) unacceptableHis remarks were clearly beyond the pale.
sick-makingstomach-churningWhat a sick-making stench!
revoltingextremely unpleasantPicking your nose is a revolting habit.
obnoxiousvery unpleasant/rudeSome of his colleagues say that he’s loud and obnoxious.
repellentvery unpleasant and causing strong dislikeTheir political ideas are repellent to most people.
repulsiverepellentI’ve never met a more repulsive man!
nauseatingstomach-churning, sick-making; repellent, revolting1) The nauseating smell of rotting food is more than I can take. 2) He wrote me a really nauseating letter.

Further reading: “How to Talk About Tastes & Smells”


Idioms & AdjectivesMeaningExamples
breathtakingextremely exciting/surprising/beautifulThe view from here is breathtaking.
to take one’s breath awayto be breathtakingThe beauty of the palace took my breath away.
to stop in one’s tracksto suddenly stop because something has frightened/surprised you1) I stopped in my tracks when I heard the scream. 2) The question stopped Alice in her tracks.
to blow one’s mindto be very exciting/unusual/surprisingThe special effects in this film will blow your mind (= are mind-blowing).
to leave someone open-mouthedto leave someone very surprised/shockedThe scene will leave you open-mouthed.
astoundingvery surprising/shockingThe decision to leave the country was astounding.
startlingsurprising and sometimes worryingWhat a startling discovery!
stunningvery shocking/impressive/surprisingThe ideas have a stunning simplicity.
staggeringastoundingThey paid a staggering £5 million for the house.
confoundingconfusing/surprisingThe sudden rise in share prices is confounding.


Idioms & AdjectivesMeaningExamples
hot under the collarangry/embarrassedHe got very hot under the collar when I asked him where he’d been all day.
on the warpathangry and wanting to fight or punish somebodyIf there’s one thing I can’t stand, it is my boss on the warpath.
up in armsvery angry about something and ready to protest strongly about itTeachers are up in arms about new school tests.
foaming at the mouthvery angryHe was foaming at the mouth with rage.
bent out of shapeangry/agitatedI’m a little bent out of shape about the change.
pissed offannoyed/disappointed/unhappyI’m pissed off at you.
steamed upangry/excited/worriedDon’t get so steamed-up about it – it’s not really important.
snappyhot-tempered/irritableThere’s no need to be so snappy with the children.
crabbyeasily annoyed by unimportant things; bad-temperedYou’re crabby today. What’s bothering you?
to have a cowto become very angry/upsetMy mother had a cow when I said I was going to buy a motorbike.


Click the link here and match the sentence parts.

Click the link here and complete the sentences.

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