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 am looking for a word to use in this context...

A teacher is scheduled to teach English 100. He has taught it before and knows it to be a grind. He believes that, like always, it will be populated by students who have built up a healthy disdain for English. So, he is sitting in his office minutes before the class begins feeling painful anticipation over his first lecture.

Psychology uses "Negative Anticipation" for these moments. I am hoping for a single word. The closest word I've found is "pang", but it sounds incomplete without "of something."

So, I would like a word that signifies the painful looking forward to an undesirable inevitability. This isn't a feeling of fear, just discomfort at knowing that what's to come will be arduous and tedious.

share|improve this question

closed as general reference by Roaring Fish, MετάEd, JSBձոգչ, tchrist, Mitch Nov 30 '12 at 18:37

This question is too basic; it can be definitively and permanently answered by a single link to a standard internet reference source designed specifically to find that type of information.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

Dread. This is a general reference question. – MετάEd Nov 29 '12 at 12:06
@MετάEd: When someone dreads something, my first reaction is that they are afraid of it for some reason. I might ask them what there is to fear in the thing. I realize that this isn't always the case with dread, but I was hoping for a word that disambiguates between fear and displeasure. – tylerharms Nov 29 '12 at 12:18
Dread is the right word. It has the two connotations of fear and displeasure. Context usually disambiguates for the listener. There are no one-word verbs that mean only "do not look forward to because the idea repels me", unless it's the passive use of repel: "I'm repelled by having to teach English 100 again next semester". – user21497 Nov 29 '12 at 12:59
While "dread" is the low-hanging fruit, one word does not a rich language make! Let's flex a little linguistic muscle here! – Kristina Lopez Nov 29 '12 at 15:10
@BillFranke: I agree that dread works if context is clear. Best option, so far. Ugly word, though, dread. – tylerharms Nov 29 '12 at 21:08

There are many words that tap into that feeling to a certain degree (though they all share the basic emotion of dread at some level)

  • Foreboding (my favorite!)
  • Trepidation
  • Apprehension
  • Consternation
  • Unease
share|improve this answer
Consternation seems best here, & it's a verb, so one can say "Having to teach English 100 next semester consternates me". Howsomever, it's ambiguous: "to fill with dismay or astonishment" (MW3UDE), which leaves us between the same Scylla & Charybdis. The other choices don't remove the fear, & "unease" doesn't express the displeasure. Maybe "Having to teach English 100 next semester {repels / annoys / displeases (and all its synonyms)} me" is okay. – user21497 Nov 29 '12 at 21:52

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