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What is a more formal or appropriate word to replace the word high when writing "feeling high"? By feeling "high", I don't mean the person has to be smoking weed or taking crack. So the person is not in a trance, feeling dizzy or feeling psychedelic. He is perfectly healthy.

For example, a person dancing in a club, jamming on his guitar, having lots of fun, etc, he could say he is feeling "high".

But the word "high" sounds colloquial. What is a better word to replace feeling "high" in this context for writing?

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This is why we have the phrase high on life. –  cornbread ninja 麵包忍者 Apr 10 '12 at 19:56
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Is there something wrong with feeling high? –  Robusto Apr 10 '12 at 20:35
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FWIW, I have heard people say they were "high on dancing!" –  FrustratedWithFormsDesigner Apr 10 '12 at 21:16
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9 Answers

up vote 84 down vote accepted

Euphoria, or in this case euphoric.

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straight to the point, simple and easy to understand. Great choice. –  Paola Apr 10 '12 at 21:27
    
Notably, the definition of "high" includes the word "euphoria" en.wiktionary.org/wiki/high –  Amanda Apr 11 '12 at 14:08
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But the connotation is that being "high" is being under the influence of a substance. "Euphoria" generally lacks that connotation; while it can be an effect of a drug, disease or other "altered condition", it is just as likely to be used to describe being extremely happy for natural reasons. –  KeithS Apr 11 '12 at 18:11
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Excited. While high as in 'on drugs' might justify words like ecstatic, euphoric, or elated, I am not sure anyone would get into that state playing a guitar.

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Exhilarated suggests to me the appropriate sense of a not-intense mood that may extend for about the same amount of time. Most of the other suggestions seem more transient.

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What about "feeling elated"? According to the Oxford Dictionary, if means "very happy and excited because of something good that has happened, or will happen".

or else "ecstatic", which in the same dictionary is defined as "very happy, excited and enthusiastic; feeling or showing great enthusiasm". In this meaning, it is said to be a synonym of "delighted".

I admit that they all sound a bit stiff and old-fashioned.

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I would assume this is in regards to proper English usage as opposed to colloquial or slang expressions. If slang a few that come to mind, "On cloud 9" or "On a pink cloud" are a couple.

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A phrase (not a single word, unfortunately) to describe this state might be deliriously happy or delirious with joy.

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Downvoter: why? –  zpletan Apr 10 '12 at 20:53
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Grammatical rule n. 7: "Exaggeration is a billion times worse than understatement." So -1. –  user19148 Apr 10 '12 at 20:54
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@Carlo_R. aren't "feeling heaven" and "over the moon" also exaggerations? (I'm not trying to pick a fight or be surly or anything; I just want to understand.) –  zpletan Apr 10 '12 at 20:58
    
You are right. Pardon. I would up-vote your answer but I cannot do that. If you edit your answer, I up-vote. –  user19148 Apr 10 '12 at 21:04
    
@Carlo_R. okey-doke. Thanks! –  zpletan Apr 10 '12 at 21:06
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The previously-suggested words euphoric, elated, and ecstatic all are good, but don't overlook exhilarated ("refreshingly thrilled") and exuberant ("high-spirited; extremely energetic or enthusiastic").

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It's going to be hard to displace a natural and well-established Metaphor like the UP/DOWN family of metaphor themes.

Being metaphorically high, for whatever reason, and in whatever way, is coherent with the

  • UP is HAPPY (DOWN is SAD) theme
    • He’s depressed.
    • feeling up/down
    • What a downer!

as well as the

  • UP* is BETTER (DOWN is WORSE) theme
    • He fell down on the midterm.
    • a rise/fall in performance
    • upwardly-mobile

and the

  • UP* is ABSTRACT (DOWN is CONCRETE) theme
    • head in the clouds
    • feet on the ground
    • Come back to earth.
    • new heights of abstraction

Virtually all the ways we use to talk about mental experiences are metaphors. Nothing new here.

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Your list is pretty long, but you have forgotten the exact answer: "feeling heaven". So -1. Please, read again the xEnOn question. –  user19148 Apr 10 '12 at 20:59
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@Carlo_R.: That's your "exact" answer. Why downvote when someone else doesn't come to the exact same conclusion as you? –  FrustratedWithFormsDesigner Apr 10 '12 at 21:09
    
Take a look to the site you have mentioned and you will see yourself. –  user19148 Apr 10 '12 at 21:13
    
Whatever; he clearly didn't read the answer either. Happens all the time. –  John Lawler Apr 10 '12 at 21:14
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@Carlo_R.: What site? I have not mentioned any site. –  FrustratedWithFormsDesigner Apr 10 '12 at 21:15
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You could say that the person is one of the following:

  • feeling alive
  • in high spirits
  • in good spirits
  • lighthearted
  • upbeat
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+1 I think you've captured the intent without going into the extreme range that other answers are tending towards. I think just plain Happy fits the bill as well. –  Jim Apr 10 '12 at 20:43
    
these all boil down to feeling "good", which is not a bad feeling but doesn't capture the ecstasy that "high" does. –  Amanda Apr 11 '12 at 14:06
    
Yep. I was going for words that aren't "over the top." I think euphoria is a little excessive for what was described in the question (but apparently I was incorrect). I think euphoria is more like when you have a child or you get a "Yes" on a marriage proposal. –  JLG Apr 11 '12 at 14:39
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protected by RegDwigнt Apr 10 '12 at 22:33

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