English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I have come across the following as examples of "orientational metaphors":

happy is up; sad is down:

I'm feeling up today. He's really low these days.

While I understand the general concept, I do wonder if native speakers of English commonly use "I'm feeling up today" in daily conversations to express their (temporary) sense of well-being.

share|improve this question
'down' is more commonly expressed, but 'up' works just fine. – Mitch Jun 30 '13 at 14:07
They're not the only words used, either. – John Lawler Jun 30 '13 at 15:19
Thank you for the comments. – neil Jul 1 '13 at 13:57

Typically you don't hear 'up' used in general conversation. The use of 'down' to indicate sadness or depression is quite a lot more common.

'High' is in occasional use but it generally refers to artificially imposed moods.

share|improve this answer
Thanks. This helps. – neil Jul 1 '13 at 13:58

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.