I want to describe my character waking up and sensing something is strange, however, can't put a finger on what. For example,

Alice woke up and felt __, something seemed different.

Different like something was wrong and off. I don't mind to have an idiom as well.

  • 1
    Sally, your question is very short. can you please add some details, can you describe what you mean by "strange"? Is it fear or confusion? Can you please write a sentence where you would write this word, for example, "Carol woke up and felt strange, she {had/was} ___ but couldn't explain why" Are you looking for an adjective or a noun? Would you be happy with an idiom?
    – Mari-Lou A
    Apr 10, 2018 at 11:16
  • Provide more details, and users will provide better and more focussed answers.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Apr 10, 2018 at 11:16
  • Thank you for providing a sample sentence. Could you better describe what you mean by "strange"? Is Alice frightened, worried, anxious? Does she feel different because something has changed or because she is confused? Does she feel something bad is going to happen? Does she feel her surroundings are foreign/unreal to her?
    – Mari-Lou A
    Apr 11, 2018 at 19:06
  • “Alice woke [up] and felt disoriented, sensing an unfamiliarity about the world.” Consider also mystified, disconcerted, dazed and dazzled (or bedazzled). Or “something seemed anomalous”, aberrant, enigmatic, or perhaps alien or bizarre, depending on how strong the feeling is. If any of these is close to what you want, take it to a thesaurus. Apr 12, 2018 at 3:55

3 Answers 3


foreboding (Oxford Dictionaries)
fearful apprehension; a feeling that something bad will happen.

  • ‘Something had stirred him prematurely from his sleep about an hour before his alarm would have sounded, and a sense of foreboding coursed through him.’

“a sense of unease” is a suitable alternative


There are many usually stronger synonyms (bewilderment, confusion, mystification, befuddlement, stupefaction ...), but perhaps the word used for the mildest sensation is puzzlement.

From Macmillan

puzzlement [noun] [uncountable]

a feeling of being confused because you cannot understand something

She was frowning in puzzlement.

An example from Opposing Poetries: Readings By Hank Lazer:

"I wanted each sentence to leave a question in mind — a sense of puzzlement — vague, at first, but capable of being formulated."

  • felt apprehensive
  • had an omnious feeling

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