People say "thank you" because they're thankful. One would responed "you're welcome" because they are what?

Is there a single word to describe a state of happily doing something for someone else for which they've received thanks?

  • I think this is Not Constructive. Or maybe Too Localised. Is OP looking for a word that can only describe the feeling you get after being "thanked"? What if you give a baby something (a nipple, tickle, whatever) and it gurgles with delight? Does that count as being thanked? – FumbleFingers Jun 23 '12 at 15:17
  • @FumbleFingers Sure. Do you have a word to describe that feeling either? – dlras2 Jun 23 '12 at 15:20
  • 3
    Warm and fuzzy? – cobaltduck Jun 23 '12 at 20:49

I doubt there's a word that covers that situation alone, but gratified is what you might be on such an occasion.

  • Nice answer, given that "gratified" is related to grazie, the Italian for "thanks". – Daniel Harbour Jun 23 '12 at 17:32
  • +1 would also add 'pleased', especially due to existence of phrase "(It was) my pleasure" as an alternative to saying "You're welcome" – Jeutnarg Nov 14 '16 at 23:58

The first word that came to my mind was humble.

Perhaps that seems like a bad choice, but, if you examine the definitions of the word carefully, it doesn't do a bad job of capturing the feelings one might have when saying "you're welcome."

Wordnik says:

adj. Marked by meekness or modesty in behavior, attitude, or spirit; not arrogant or prideful.
adj. Showing deferential or submissive respect

When I've been thanked for something, that's not a bad description of what I usually want to convey in my reply: an attitude that portrays modesty, or a deferential spirit. Spanish captures this rather nicely with their equivalent expression de nada (which, of course, translates literally to "of nothing"). English has similar ways to acknowledge a "thank you," such as "it was nothing" or "don't mention it." I believe those indeed convey a spirit of meekness and modesty, with an absence of arrogance and pride – in other words, a humble spirit.

Some might have a problem with this suggestion, because, in addition to meaning unpretentious and unassuming, humble can also convey feelings of low self-worth, a low station in life, or someone who has been disgraced, brought down, or humiliated. Obviously, I'm not including these essences of the word in my suggestion. If one regards those as disqualifying, then perhaps unpretentious or altruistic could work instead. Again, from Wordnik:

adj. Not pretentious; making no claim to distinction; modest.

adj. Unselfish; regardful of others; having regard to the well-being or best interests of others; showing unselfish concern for the welfare of others


How you feel if you are thanked depends on your attitude toward the subject and the overall situation. If we include such thank yous as ironic ones, we can really round out the list.

  • exalted (you were helpful to someone of higher status)
  • smug (you feel superior)
  • virtuous (the gratitude of others affirms your belief that you are good)
  • used ("thank you" from a moocher)
  • surprised (by someone who hasn't thanked before)
  • stupid (thank you for that rook, and check!)
  • contemptuous (of phony thank-you's)
  • guilty (thank you for ruining my day)
  • glad (simply happy to have helped, supported, given)
  • 1
    As a side note, it's interesting to compare the various ways we say "you're welcome." These days, you hear, "it's nothing," "that's okay," "sure," "no problem," and more. Each of these seems to imply a different attitude, although generally I take them as dismissive. Compare these to the usual method of saying "you're welcome" in two other common languages: in French, de rien, and in Spanish, de nada, each mean, essentially, "it was nothing." So, how DOES one feel when one entirely discounts the value of that for which one is being thanked? Embarrassed? Scornful? Ironically imposed upon? – John M. Landsberg Mar 29 '13 at 6:03
  • @JohnM.Landsberg, that bothers me, too. In Greek, one response to thank you is "tipota", meaning "nothing". A more polite response is "parakaloh", the word also used for "please". It's the same in German, "bitte" is both please and you're welcome. The sense is, it was my pleasure. – Theresa Sep 2 '18 at 22:00

A similar question was troubling me last night and in finding an answer to it, I came across these words.

If someone feels gratitude toward you, it is because they feel you have done them a service. Irrespective of how you felt performing that service or receiving their thanks, the best word I could find was accommodative.

Obliging is related to oblige, which can mean "To make indebted or grateful."

Some other words I found were: complaisant, benevolent, and magnanimous.

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