I'm looking for a preferably short word that encompasses how a person is feeling, what they're doing, and who they're with. The list of things I want to represent will probably grow over time, so a somewhat generic term would be ideal.

The best I've been able to come up with is situation or circumstance. However, they're fairly bland words and also a bit long. Any ideas?

closed as off-topic by andy256, ermanen, Kristina Lopez, Drew, tchrist Jan 16 '15 at 23:43

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  • I'm not sure you can get mood, company and activity wrapped up in one short (or long) word. – Kristina Lopez Jan 16 '15 at 0:28
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    Situation is probably the word I would use: Hello, long time no see. What's your situation these days? You could abbreviate it in casual conversation: Hey bro, what's your sitch? – choster Jan 16 '15 at 3:50

The problem with catch-all words is that they tend to be bland.

Situation and circumstance are good bland catch-all words:


  1. A set of circumstances in which one finds oneself; a state of affairs:
    ODO Emphasis added

Condition(s) is another relatively bland word that can catch all three elements of feeling, activity, and company:


  1. The circumstances or factors affecting the way in which people live or work, especially with regard to their well-being:

State or state of affairs is suggested by the definition of situation:


  1. The particular condition that someone or something is in at a specific time:

Status is related to state, so it would work too.

The single common problem with all of these words is that they blandly capture many ideas in stead of capturing our imagination with interesting specifics.


The shortest word in AmE is "sup" - a contraction of "what's up".

If you approach someone and say "sup", it is recognized as a greeting.

If you ask "Sup?", you are in effect asking, "How are you?", "What's new?", Where are you and who are you with?", "How are they (one's testicles) hanging" - and various other questions.

I'm sure an authority such as Urban Dictionary will give the kiddies credit for this - but, it's been around for eons.

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    Trouble here is that sup is a question. The OP wants a noun, not an interrogative. However, you could pervert sup to be a noun, though this is going off-label. I'm thinking "John was happy with his sup". – Martin Krzywinski Jan 15 '15 at 22:26

Perhaps, mise en scene (noun): environment; locality


Your request is a heavy burden for a single word to carry and the greater the load the more general and abstract the term will have to be.


Probably context may fit your description:

  • the set of circumstances or facts that surround a particular event, situation, etc.
  • context is a good suggestion but it refers to extrinsic properties (...that surround...). The question also wants to include the intrinsic feelings of the individual. – Martin Krzywinski Jan 15 '15 at 22:16
  • Actually 'context' may refer both to public or private facts and circumstances. – user66974 Jan 15 '15 at 22:24

There is mien though this doesn't really cover who they're with:

A person’s appearance or manner, especially as an indication of their character or mood: he has a cautious, academic mien

Perhaps bearing, or demeanour or aspect? Difficult to capture everything in one word.


If you're looking for a word that describes a person and their context on the continuum of their life, then phase is good. It also implies conditions that change over time.

"At one phase of his life, John felt unhappy with his job and friends."

Also chapter and stage work well here.

Of course, you could just go for the obvious life

"John's life was good."

We know to understand this use of life holistically, to mean mood, company, career, etc.

  • Life certainly captures what I'm after, but I feel that it's too broad (same with phase). I didn't make this clear, but I'm wanting to describe how they're feeling, etc. over a small period of time (e.g. an hour). – user106346 Jan 15 '15 at 22:30

You might be thinking of the person's existential state — a term that covers pretty much anything you might want it to.

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