French Adjectives for Feelings

Rachel Hanson
Elle est contente.

In any situation where you need to describe how you are feeling or how you felt about something in the past, you will need to know some French adjectives for feelings. Learn these words in order to tell your teacher you're not feeling well, or to tell a friend that you're happy. In addition, some of these words can help you vent negative emotions, which can help you to feel better and help the person who hurt your feelings understand why you were hurt.

French Adjectives for Feelings

Some of the most common French adjectives for feelings refer to being happy or sad. These top the list of basic French words because they are so common:

  • Heureux/heureuse: Happy
  • Content/contente: Content, satisfied
  • Triste: Sad
  • Malheureux/malheureuse: Unhappy

Feeling sick is another common group of feelings:

  • Malade: Sick
  • Mauvais/mauvaise: Bad (as in 'I don't feel well': Je me sens mauvais.)
  • Fatigué/fatiguée: Tired
  • Enrhumé/enrhumée: Sick (with a cold or flu)
  • Cassé/cassée: Broken (literally): this term is used for extreme exhaustion or extreme physical feelings of malaise, for example if you are completely hung over or have just finished a week of final exams.

Psychological feelings have varying degrees of physical characteristics. For some people, feeling unable to do something is simply a statement; for other people, the feeling takes on a physical component as well. In these cases, different speakers will choose different adjectives to express these types of feelings:

  • Capable: Able (to do something or in general)
  • Incapable: Unable (to do something or in general)
  • Pressé/pressée: Rushed
  • Déprimé/déprimée: Depressed (either in the clinical or non-clinical sense)
  • Fâché/fâchée: Angry
  • Furieux/furieuse: Furious
  • Amoureux/amoureuse: In love

Using Adjectives in Sentences

In order to describe how you are feeling, there are a few phrases that are commonly used with the adjectives listed above. In order to say that you are something, you simply say je suis. So you might say je suis heureuse or je suis cassée (both for a female speaker).


If someone asks you how you are doing, you can also answer by saying how you are doing instead of saying 'I am' + adjective. In that case, you will need an adverb:

  • Bien: Well (things are going well)
  • Mal: Badly (things are not going well)

To use these in a sentence, try out je vais bien or ça va mal in answer to the questions 'How are you doing?' or 'How's it going?'.

Asking How Someone Feels

In addition to using these adjectives, you may want to know how to ask someone how they are feeling. Whether you are asking them how they physically fee or how they psychologically feel, the question may be different, but need not necessarily be different.

  • Comment ça va?: (How's everything?): A general question that doesn't even have to invoke a reply concerning one's feelings, so this question is general enough to fit in absolutely any context.
  • Comment tu te sens?: (How do you feel?): This question is generally used in a physical sense, but can also be used in a psychological sense.
  • Qu'est-ce qu'il y a? (What's wrong?): This question invites a genuine response. You may ask this question if you suspect that something is wrong and expect that the responder will tell you that they are sad, sick, or depressed.

Expressing How You Feel

All of these French adjectives for describing people, as well as the verbs and phrases that go with them, should give you more than enough material to express how you feel the next time that someone asks you.

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French Adjectives for Feelings