Suppose you are planning a surprise party for someone. It was a thrilling adventure because you managed to do it under their nose, dodging their suspicious eyes many times. However, you were caught in the act while making a move.

How do you name that feeling of "getting caught"? It wasn't anger, frustration, embarrassment, joy, disappointment, excitement, or surprise. This is different from getting caught for doing something bad.

To explain it a bit more, it was a mixture of feeling funny with an outburst of laughter:

  • I could have got away if I had made the move a second earlier or later.

  • It is over.

  • What to do next?

  • How to explain away what I am doing? (Trying to come up with an excuse to get away with it)

  • Should I come clean?

The word would be used in a sentence as follows.

I was setting up Ryan's surprise party, but he was early that day. As he caught me red-handed, I felt _______.

Is there a word/idiom/phrase to describe this emotion?

  • I don't see why "disappointment" is not appropriate, you felt disappointment that the surprise party didn't go according to plan. To be "deflated" expresses the idea of a let down, of losing enthusiasm/excitement – Mari-Lou A Sep 8 '19 at 7:18
  • Your balloon burst. – Hot Licks Sep 2 '20 at 11:55

The word "chagrin" comes to mind. An example would be:

Much to his chagrin, he got caught trying to snatch another cookie from the jar.

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