Extremely specific, I know. Hopefully, that makes it easier to answer.

It's just like the title says. You know when you're watching a program and something horrible happens in it along the lines of someone's arm getting bent back to an unnatural angle, and you shudder and cringe back from it.

Is there a single word to describe that feeling?

  • You mean a word for the revulsion you feel? I guess nothing's really coming to me. – Hot Licks Jan 8 '19 at 22:19
  • 1
    Hi MB, welcome to EL&U. You might not be aware that there are strict rules for single-word-requests: "To ensure your question is not closed as off-topic, please be specific about the intended use of the word. You must include a sample sentence demonstrating how the word would be used." You can add this using the edit link. For further guidance, see How to Ask. :-) – Chappo Hasn't Forgotten Monica Jan 8 '19 at 23:49

gut-wrenching TFD idiom

Agonizing; extremely distressing, unpleasant, or emotionally disturbing; having a severe effect on one's feelings.

As in:

What a gut-wrenching loss for the young athlete, who poured her heart and soul into this match.


It was a gut-wrenching feeling not being able to help him. The Sun (2007)

Saddening, shocking and upsetting are close synonyms.

| improve this answer | |

I'm not sure that the word exists for the feeling per se, but such an event would be described as sickening:

extremely unpleasant; causing you to experience unpleasant feelings.

The word can also mean "causing sickness", but it's arguably more common in the sense of "causing dreadful, horrible feelings." It's a milder term in British English than in American English.


There was a sickening thud when the child fell from the tree and hit the ground.

He managed just three games for his new club before his career was thrown into jeopardy by a sickening injury.

The ground gave way under her foot, and with a sickening lurch of her heart, she plunged downward.

The world witnessed the sickening consequences of modern warfare.

| improve this answer | |

How about revolting?

Broadly meaning disgusting, repulsive; but, more specifically:

to turn away in mental rebellion, utter disgust, or abhorrence

Examples of usage:

Guinn is mercifully sparing with the gory details, though nothing can make them anything less than revolting .


In the midst of one of these revolting paroxysms Spike breathed his last.

| improve this answer | |

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