Here is the moment from a story:

For the first time after several years, he laced up his shoes and stepped outside to start his run. However, the run turned to a walk as his thinking turned inward when an overwhelmingly intrusive and unwelcomed thought sapped his motivation towards sorrow.

Is there a word that captures the emotional shift of the runner? Some options that I have considered are whiplash, instantaneous change, discomposure, turmoil... However most of the words capture a recurrence or tension between two ends and a related flux. I am struggling to find that one word that describes this moment when emotion stifles the will to continue more energetic movement.


  • 2
    Why was he suddenly sad? You might feel sad for no reason, remember something from your past, see something sad, have a sudden idea come out of nowhere that you can't banish, etc. Also consider what part of speech you want - noun, verb, adjective, etc; what register - formal, slang, humorous; and explain what words you've already considered.
    – Stuart F
    Jun 20 at 13:16
  • 2
    Intrusive thoughts. Jun 20 at 13:31
  • 3
    How would you use the word or phrase in a sentence?
    – Lawrence
    Jun 20 at 14:39
  • 1
    Would it be fair to summarise your question as 'Is there a single word for spontaneously arising sorrow?'? (The references to tying one's shoelaces, etc. seem to be extraneous to the question.) Also 'zapped his motivation towards sorrow' creates some confusion as to whether your primary focus is on the lack of motivation or the emotion itself (even though they are related, they are distinct).
    – jsw29
    Jun 20 at 16:07
  • “Zapped his motivation towards sorrow”. You couldn’t make it up! (But perhaps you did.)
    – David
    Jun 20 at 16:59

1 Answer 1


It seems to me that he became deflated:

feeling less confident and positive than before:
Her criticism left me feeling a bit deflated.

Similar definitions are available from Collins Dictionary, Vocabulary.com, and Macmillan.

  • dispirited is probably a better word -- identified it through the links. Deflated seems a bit too woobly and slow.
    – Aaron
    Jun 20 at 22:38
  • Yes, dispirited would work well too! Jun 21 at 1:33
  • I don't like the "became" part. What a lot of people do is use mood: His mood deflated. Jun 21 at 1:43

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