It's not specifically an emotion, a feeling, or a state of mind—it's something else. Anyone have an idea what is is I'm looking for? Maybe if someone could complete this sentence:

Anger, rage, jealousy, bitterness, malice, hatred, doubt, melancholy, fear, apathy, ambivalence, dread, anxiety, greed, lust, desire, loss, emptiness, corruption, sympathy, belief, conviction, faith, hope, love, compassion, goodwill, trust, understanding, wisdom, empathy, honesty, and openness collectively are ___s.

  • MW3UDE: Perhaps the word you're looking for is affects : "2 [German affekt, from Latin affectus] psychology : the conscious subjective aspect of an emotion considered apart from bodily changes. – user21497 Dec 3 '12 at 2:54
  • Excluding malice, I think they're all Mettā – 3nafish Dec 3 '12 at 3:06
  • Based on the definitions I'm finding in my OED it doesn't seem like 'affect' would work. Ones affect has to do with his or her mental disposition, but compassion or malice itself isn't necessarily a mental disposition. I'm looking for a word that defines this class of words, but it's been eluding me for days. – Zahhar Dec 3 '12 at 3:17
  • The word "meme" came to mind, but a meme is a very specific manifestation of this compassion, malice, charity, etc. But maybe there is a word that is hypernymous with "meme" that could work. – Zahhar Dec 3 '12 at 3:18
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    A hypernym for a sub-set of emotional states that you seem to be looking for can only be called a feeling towards others. Even in Pali it is tatta as a broader term, e.g., samānattatā English: Impartiality, feeling towards others as towards oneself. sabbattatā English: Identification of all beings with oneself, i.e. universal goodwill. – Kris Dec 3 '12 at 7:23

Relatively few base emotions (Anger, Fear, Sadness, Joy, Surprise, Disgust and/or Contempt [1, 2]) are on your list, so I suppose you might refer to most of the emotions on the list as complex emotions. Several of the list items that are not emotions appear to be attitudes (“Disposition or state of mind”), ie, instances of temperament, ie, “a person's normal manner of thinking, behaving or reacting”.

In addition, some of them have to do with one's tenets (“opinions, beliefs, or principles held to be true by someone...”), outlook (“An attitude or point of view” or “Expectation for the future”), or worldview (“One's personal view of the world and how one interprets it” or “The totality of one's beliefs about reality”, or “A general philosophy or view of life”), or personality.

  • It's possible temperament could work. I'll mine some reading material for precedents. – Zahhar Dec 3 '12 at 3:59
  • It's not looking like any of these are quite the match I'm looking for. I'm looking for a word that is hypernymous to all of these, something more general than emotion, attitude, or temperament, yet still hyponymous with them all. – Zahhar Dec 3 '12 at 4:15
  • This is all very good information. Now if we can just move upward hypernymously until we find the word that can categorize all those found under these subdivisions. I was looking at "quality" just a bit ago as a potential candidate. – Zahhar Dec 3 '12 at 4:22

How about sentiment?

sen·ti·ment: Pronunciation: \ˈsen-tə-mənt\ Function: noun Etymology: French or Medieval Latin; French, from Medieval Latin sentimentum, from Latin sentire Date: 1639 1 a : an attitude, thought, or judgment prompted by feeling : predilection b : a specific view or notion : opinion 2 a : emotion b : refined feeling : delicate sensibility especially as expressed in a work of art c : emotional idealism d : a romantic or nostalgic feeling verging on sentimentality 3 a : an idea colored by emotion b : the emotional significance of a passage or expression as distinguished from its verbal context synonyms see feeling, opinion

From Merriam-Webster online dictionary

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    I like this one better than dispostion: sentiment of anger, sentiment of loss, sentiment of trust, etc. – J.R. Dec 3 '12 at 10:17
  • It's looking better I think. Do you think that inspiration counts as a sentiment? – Zahhar Dec 3 '12 at 11:25
  • @Zahhar: In a way, yes. If something inspires me, then I think it's affecting my sentiments. I'll admit that sentiment of inspiration may not sound quite as natural as some of the others, but you've given everyone a tough nut to crack. – J.R. Dec 3 '12 at 12:09
  • There's also wisdom and corruption, along with a few others that might not fit with sentiment. Yes indeed this is turning out to be a much tougher nut to crack than I was anticipating. Though I've enjoyed lurking on this site for a long time, reading the various questions and studying the answers chosen as the best, it took me about a month and a half of pondering this question before I decided to pose it here. :) – Zahhar Dec 3 '12 at 12:14
  • I have no trouble at all with sentiment of corruption. For example: There's a sentiment of corruption in politics. As for wisdom: There's a sentiment of wisdom in Professor Hale's classroom, meaning the professor dispenses wisdom for life as well as knowledge from the textbook. (I once had a professor like that – one of the best I ever had.) – J.R. Dec 3 '12 at 12:17

Compassion, malice, charity, love, inspiration are all feelings

feeling : Emotion; impression.

I'm not really happy with the definition I've quoted. All the online dictionaries are about the same though and don't quite capture the exact usage here. Nevertheless the word works well in your sentence.

  • None of these can work because I'm looking for a word that can generalize a much broader spectrum of emotions, states, attitudes, tendencies, etc. I'm sure there's a word for all this, but it's really eluding me thus far. I'm sure I knew the word once upon a time. – Zahhar Dec 3 '12 at 3:21
  • @ErinThomas- Well I think you need to give us a broader range of examples then- some words which are not feelings, but need to be included by your desired word. – Jim Dec 3 '12 at 3:23
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    Ok, good luck with that. – Jim Dec 3 '12 at 3:36
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    Well, you'd have to change your words to adjectives but then I suppose you could have: an angry disposition, a jealous disposition, a trusting disposition, a faithful disposition etc. – Jim Dec 3 '12 at 5:12
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    @ErinThomas, the definition of attitudes that I referred to in my answer sort of treats disposition as a synonym, but I think disposition generally works better than attitudes in your examples just above. – James Waldby - jwpat7 Dec 3 '12 at 5:30

Those are abstract nouns (refer to http://www.k12reader.com/abstract-nouns/)

  • While this is true, "abstract noun" is much too general. I need to move downward through hyponymy toward something that encompasses only the types of abstract nouns in question. – Zahhar Dec 3 '12 at 3:22

I don't think there is a single word for the full range of identifiable qualities minds can exhibit.

The nearest I can get is they're all mental states in the "Philosophy of mind" sense - a kind of hypothetical state or process that corresponds to thinking and feeling.

But I do think there's quite a difference between relatively ephemeral "reactions" (rage, lust, desire, etc.) and more constant "attributes" (wisdom, honesty, openness, etc.). The former are often called feelings, the latter, personality traits or characteristics.

  • I've been considering "mental state" or "philosophy of mind", but thus far it just doesn't feel right. It's certainly something I can come back to if nothing better is offered here. Yet, I'm almost certain there is a very specific word that will do the trick. There are nearly a million words in the English lexicon. So I'm sure one, or two together, will do the trick and nicely so. – Zahhar Dec 3 '12 at 4:40
  • On what do you base your faith that English will have a "very specific word"? Mental activity is probably equal in importance to physical activity for human beings, and off-hand I can't think there's a collective word for all our physical activities either (unless you just assume activity only applies to actual physical activity). – FumbleFingers Dec 3 '12 at 4:52
  • Well I base it on the somewhat dim memory of having used this word once upon a time. :) – Zahhar Dec 3 '12 at 4:57

Contrary to what the OP has stated in comments, most, if not all the provided words, can be classified as affections. Roget categorises compassion under sympathetic affections while malice is apparently a type of diffusive sympathetic affection.

  • Ah! I'll dig into this a bit and corroborate your feedback. Thanks for posting this! – Zahhar Dec 3 '12 at 4:56
  • What do you think of "disposition"? Are all of the items listed dispositions? – Zahhar Dec 3 '12 at 5:02
  • I think Roget's affections is far too broad a term - it includes such disparate concepts as ugliness, celibacy, drunkenness, asceticism, for example. – FumbleFingers Dec 3 '12 at 5:07
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    @ErinThomas I think disposition is a good fit although it connotes tendency rather than a determinate state. Good luck :) – coleopterist Dec 3 '12 at 5:13
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    Well, if you think about it, any of these items denotes the tendency to act out its own meaning. Right? So compassion is the tendency to act compassionately. Malice is the tendency toward maliciousness. Etc. and so on for the rest. In a way this implies a determinate state in its own right. I'm thinking I'll answer this question with "disposition", but first I'm going to give it a day or so to see what other feedback shows up. – Zahhar Dec 3 '12 at 5:16

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