Positive Words: Definition, List & Examples (+PDF)
Want to add more positive words to your vocabulary? Not sure which words are positive? No worries. We’ll explore the research here and provide you with a list of positive words.
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What Are Positive Words? (A Definition)
The extent to which a word is positive is subjective. For example, you might think that “baby” is a positive word but I might not. Despite these differences in opinion, we can get a pretty good sense of which words are positive by asking a whole bunch of people and seeing which words are positive, to most people. And that’s exactly what researchers at the University of Florida did.
In this massive study, they asked hundreds of people to rank a portion of approximately 600 words from pleasant to unpleasant. They used pictures of a smiling happy figure (pleasant) to a frowning unhappy figure (unpleasant) so that the raters knew what they meant by pleasant and unpleasant (Bradley & Lang, 1999). As a result of this study, we now know which words people view as positive (pleasant) and which ones we view as negative (unpleasant).
The opposite of positive words: Negative words
At the opposite end of the spectrum from positive words are negative words. Some of the most negatively rated words in the study were death, depression, and loneliness. It’s important to keep in mind, though, that most words fall somewhere in the middle where they are neither very negative nor very positive. These words include things like radiator, shadow, and hairdryer (Bradley & Lang, 1999).
Why Do Positive Words Matter?
When we speak words, we have to think about them first. Then, these words are heard by other people. That means that our words are crucially involved in both our thoughts and our behaviors. These thoughts and behaviors affect how we think about the world—for example, how much we might focus on the positive things. And they affect our interactions with others.
Interestingly, by strengthening the regions of the brain responsible for positive emotions, thoughts, memories, etc. we may be able to make them stronger. For example, research has shown that having knowledge of something supports memory (Newberry & Bailey, 2019). In other words, when our brains have more information on a topic, the easier it is to remember things related to that topic. By this logic, the more positive information, words, and memories we have related to positive things, the easier it should be to think and act positively.
We also know that training people to focus on the positive over the negative contributes to improvements in well-being (MacLeod, et al., 2002; Wadlinger & Isaacowitz, 2008). One way to do this may be using, memorizing, focusing on, or thinking about positive things more often. Snag our positive word ebook for positive word flashcards to help you strengthen your brain in these ways.
Examples of Positive Words
According to the research (Bradley & Lang, 1999), some of the most positive words include:
These are just a few examples of positive words. A more comprehensive list of positive words organized by letter is below (Bradley & Lang, 1999):
Positive Words That Start With A
Positive Words That Start With B
Positive Words That Start With C
Positive Words That Start With D
Positive Words That Start With E
Positive Words That Start With F
Positive Words That Start With G
Positive Words That Start With H
Positive Words That Start With I
Positive Words That Start With J
Extremely positive words that start with J:
Positive Words That Start With K
Positive Words That Start With L
Positive Words That Start With M
Positive Words That Start With N
Positive Words That Start With O
Positive Words That Start With P
Positive Words That Start With Q
Very positive words that start with Q:
Positive Words That Start With R
Positive Words That Start With S
Positive Words That Start With T
Positive Words That Start With U
Extremely positive words that start with U:
Positive Words That Start With V
Positive Words That Start With W
Positive Words That Start With Y
Very positive words that start with Y:
Positive Words That Start With Z
Very positive words that start with Z:
Downloadable List of Positive Words (+PDF)
And here is downloadable lists of these positive words.
Ways to Use These Positive Words
If you need ways to integrate these positive words into your daily life and retrain your brain for more positivity, here are a few ideas.
Video: Powerful Positive Words For The Morning
Quotes With Positive Words
Here are a few quotes that include the positive words above:
More Articles Related to Positive Words
If you want to keep exploring positive words and other ways to boost positivity, here are a few more articles to check out.
Books On Positive Words
Want to read more? Here are some good books that can help you work more with positive words:
Final Thoughts on Positive Words
Using positive words in your thoughts and communication can be an easy way to start developing a positivity habit. Hopefully, the guidance and lists provided here will help you take action and start using these words more in your daily life.