In my country, we call it “kilig.” When a guy, for instance, unexpectedly smiles at a girl who happens to have feelings for him, chances are the girl will feel so jubilant she would scream inside and smile.

Joyous, jubilant, and happy are too general to describe that specific feeling (you feel toward a person you like) that I want to describe using a “naturally occurring” word or phrase.

Can you suggest some terms?

  • Your question is tagged with single-word-request, but you mention a word or phrase in the question itself. I'd suggest either removing the single word request tag or adding a phrase tag.
    – barbecue
    Sep 1, 2018 at 1:51
  • Sorry about that. There, I already added “phrase-requests” tag. Thank you. Sep 1, 2018 at 1:57

2 Answers 2


I'm not aware of any single word that has this specific meaning, but there are various phrases that convey the idea. A common one is my heart skipped a beat. While this term is also used to describe a medical condition, it's widely recognized as being a metaphor for a sudden, intense emotional response to an event, often of a romantic nature. It is a very common metaphor in song lyrics and poetry.

"Bobby smiled at me and my heart skipped a beat."


Such a natural romantic excitement can be expressed by the words:

Exhilarate https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/exhilarate

Meaning: make (someone) feel very happy, animated, or elated.

Usage: "she was exhilarated by the day's events."

Thrill https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/thrill

Meaning: A wave or nervous tremor of emotion or sensation.

Usage:"a thrill of excitement ran through her"

Or how about the word Kilig itself? :)

The English language has borrowed this word from the Philippines.

Kilig https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/kilig

Meaning: (of a person) exhilarated or elated by an exciting or romantic experience.

Usage:"I get kilig every time I hear this song."

  • But “exhilarate” and “thrill” don’t seem to capture instantly exactly what “kilig” really means. “Kilig” always has to do with sweetness or romance. Exhilarate and thrill are also too general they can be used in different contexts. Sep 1, 2018 at 3:32
  • @JonasSergio it is very exquisite and unique word and that is the very reason Kilig was included in English language (OED).
    – Ubi.B
    Sep 1, 2018 at 3:34
  • @JonasSergio Thrill is more related to Kilig and it tries to capture the meaning of Kilig.
    – Ubi.B
    Sep 1, 2018 at 3:36
  • I hadn’t known until now that kilig has already been added in Oxforddictiknaries.com. But does this mean “kilig” is now officially recognized as an English word? Sep 1, 2018 at 3:39
  • @JonasSergio yes, you can use it as a English word now :)
    – Ubi.B
    Sep 1, 2018 at 3:39

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