I’m looking for the word that can fill this blank:

I went on this trip, not knowing that she was coming, and when I found out that she was, the ____ of the trip changed for me.

It should be the word which describes the set of feelings or overall perception of this trip. It’s like the set of characteristics that define the event or situation. I’ve already disposed of words like spirit, feeling, outlook, atmosphere/aura, and notion.

Something is nagging me that the word might be a plural … which word is this, exactly?

  • Did you dispose of those words because they're not exactly what you're trying to describe or because you simply had another word in mind? I assume you exhausted the thesaurus, as well (I'd try each of the terms that was closest to your intended meaning if you hadn't already). (: – Zairja Sep 3 '12 at 1:34
  • Probably, simply, a zero-derived noun -- the feel of the trip changed for me. – John Lawler Sep 3 '12 at 1:59
  • @Zairja The problem with those words I've listed is that their true definitions don't fit what I intend for that blank spot. I'll look at some other thesauri in case I missed it, but wasn't having much luck. And thanks John, but I know I've heard the word before and it's not "feel"... it was a more interesting word. But I do appreciate vanilla when I come across it. – Matt Sep 3 '12 at 2:12
  • It may be a stretch, but a plural word is rules ("a generally prevailing quality, state, or mode"). Also, it's heard often in phrases like "the rules have changed" which is where you may have subconsciously picked it up. – Zairja Sep 3 '12 at 4:00
  • 1
    Expectations or hopes? – Supr Sep 3 '12 at 9:00

I'd say "the tone of the trip changed."


...the dimension(s) of this trip changed for me?

5: a level of existence or consciousness

Or perhaps impact:

: the force of impression of one thing on another : a significant or major effect
- the impact of science on our society

  • This is as close as I can figure it will get! Although, all of the answers have great suggestions. – Matt Sep 4 '12 at 2:41

Perhaps the atmosphere of the vacation changed?

atmosphere: the pervading tone or mood of a place, situation, or work of art

I think it sounds a bit awkward in your example, because it's usually applied to physical locations, but I still think it's worth considering:

ambience: The special atmosphere or mood created by a particular environment

One more (pardon the alliteration, it's coincidental):

aura: the distinctive atmosphere or quality that seems to surround and be generated by a person, thing, or place

There's mood, too: The mood of the vacation changed.


Experience, tenor, texture, sense — take your pick.


Two plural words used to describe the feeling of something that I don't see referenced to this point include implications and prospects.

To me, implications has a more serious flavor with negative hints, but works well in a positive sense. Prospects has more of a positive connotation, but also sounds more rustic. When I hear people my age and younger use these words outside of a formal setting, there is usually a touch of humor in the statement.


Perhaps either essence or nature would suit.


How about "the meaning of the trip changed..."?

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