When the context is clearly about the heart (not the body in general), are "feelings" the same as "emotions?"

The only use I really care about is like this:

It can help you if you are aware of the emotions [feelings] of joy, peace, anger or sadness.

In above example, is it OK to use the term "feelings" to describe heart feelings that just happen in someone's heart without further consideration?

I've read here that emotions and feelings are not the same:

Essentially emotions are physical and instinctive...You see a lion, and you instantly get scared.

Feelings on the other hand play out in our heads... You see a lion behind bars, and your feelings may range from curiosity to admiration.

In this case, feelings sound like emotions with an attitude, so more conscious.

1 Answer 1


That distinction you posted is reasonable, but not necessarily proscriptive. I think you could use feelings here. Think of it from this point of view; "emotion" is a foreign term, while "feel" is native Germanic English. Not too long ago, you would have been able to meet people who didn't know the word "emotion". It's thus from a more educated stratum of the language. Before its widespread adoption, people would have used "feelings" alone.

  • 1
    This is exactly what I wanted to know.
    – Jan
    May 3, 2018 at 17:12
  • native Germanic English?
    – Lambie
    May 3, 2018 at 17:32
  • Cheers, Jan! Though don't take my word for it, just giving you my own "feelings" on the matter! Lambie: I just mean it's a difference between our own old inherited vocabulary and newer words adopted from French, Latin or whatever.
    – Ben McGah
    May 3, 2018 at 17:36
  • Right. Well, it does come from German in part it seems but seems somewhat passive whereas emotion comes from the Latin to excite and somehow involves movement. emoveo: move out, stir up or agitate. Interesting....
    – Lambie
    May 3, 2018 at 17:41
  • 1
    Sure they are, but there's often a sense of their being less "intimate", and less appropriate for certain more folksy or domestic contexts, so the difference is often worth noting.
    – Ben McGah
    May 3, 2018 at 20:22

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