[Ads-l] choke up =? emotional

Barretts Mail mail.barretts at GMAIL.COM
Sat Sep 9 18:50:27 UTC 2017

After auditioning for the "X Factor” in 2013, Sam Bailey chokes up and in response to a question about her feelings says, “Emotional.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mCylXy-IRGU <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mCylXy-IRGU>, from about 4:35.

On the one hand, I cannot think of another word to describe this state, but on the other, it seems that she is feeling some sort of emotion not simply that she is feeling emotional.

Wiktionary (https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/emotional <https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/emotional>) and the online Oxford Dictionaries (https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/emotional <https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/emotional>) say that “emotional” is characterized by emotion or intense feeling. The OD’s sample sentences include:

Controversial social and political issues underlay these emotional exchanges

so it’s clear that “emotional” can include emotions like anger, but I cannot imagine someone who is angry saying they are “emotional” unless by way of euphemism.

Is there an English adjective other than “emotional” to describe the emotion when you are overwhelmed by, err, emotion? And should the OD provide a separate subentry for this meaning of “emotional”?

Benjamin Barrett
Formerly of Seattle, WA
The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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