7 words to express thankfulness

2 min read

On Thanksgiving we gather around with family — of origin and created — and thank them. Thank them for keeping us safe and comforted through difficult times and for loving us through the ups and downs. Thanksgiving is also a time to celebrate the joys of the past year. And pie. We show our thankfulness for pie.

This Thanksgiving, try expressing your gratitude beyond just saying thank you. Here are some words to help you expand your vocabulary and get closer to how you really feel about your family. And if you got roped into a Thanksgiving dinner you don’t want to be at, we have a word for that, too.


A word from the Middle Ages, gramercy is a derivation of the French grand merci, or big thanks. It expresses surprise or gratitude, but it’s not often used anymore. Nowadays you might see it as the name of a private park in New York City and the name of a nearby tavern. But the word still carries its original connotations and can be used to express your thanks in a flowery manner to your host.


Beholden implies a debt of gratitude, but still means thank you — thank you for a favor, or for a gift. The word comes from Middle English and relates to the word bound. When you’re beholden to someone, you’re bound to them, just like family members and close friends are bound to one another. It means that there’s a relationship of give and take between the two of you.


Gratitude is the overall theme of the day, and grateful is an excellent word to show your thankfulness. Grateful implies that you care about both the gift you’re given and the person who gave it to you. Sure, the food is important, but the relationships of the day even more so. You can appreciate the food, but you’re especially grateful for the friends and family of the day.


Maybe you’re stuck at the kids table past the age of 18. Or you’re forced to watch football when you really want to put on the Thanksgiving Day Parade. Every family holiday has an element of obligation. This word sets up a transaction, one of give and take among family. But instead of groaning at your obligations, try to think of them as important traditions. And just grab another piece of pie. It will be OK.


You might be racking up a credit card debt over the holidays, but this word is really more like beholden. Indebted speaks to a debt of giving. It shows your thankfulness, but also makes a promise to give back in return. It represents the other side of gift giving and gratitude, the side where you work to make the relationship equal. But instead of making sure everything is balanced, try to think of your indebtedness as paying it forward. Thanksgiving is the season to pass along the benefits that you have received over the year.


Use this noun for how you feel when you’re thankful. Felicity means the state of happiness and joy. You’re likely to feel this one surrounded by friends and family around the table, or when you’ve been able to inspire gratitude in someone else. And when you're eating pie.


This word, like felicity, refers to the joyous feelings inspired by thankfulness. This adjective describes anything expressing praise. Thanking people should be joyful and so should Thanksgiving; laudatory really sums that feeling up.

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