LIWC Dictionary (Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count)

The LIWC dictionary used in this demonstration is composed of 5,690 words and word stems. Each word or word stem defines one or more word categories. For example, the word 'cried' is part of four word categories: sadness, negative emotion, overall affect, and a past tense verb. Hence, if it is found in the target text, each of these four category scale scores will be incremented. As in this example, many of the LIWC categories are arranged hierarchically. All anger words, by definition, will be categorized as negative emotion and overall emotion words.

Each of the 69 preset LIWC categories used in this demo is composed of a list of dictionary words that define that scale. The table below provides a comprehensive list of these LIWC categories with sample scale words.

LIWC Dimensions and Sample Words




Pronouns I, them, itself
Articles a, an, the
Past tense walked, were, had
Present tense Is, does, hear
Future tense will, gonna
Prepositions with, above
Negations no, never, not
Numbers one, thirty, million
Swear words *****


Social Processes talk, us, friend
Friends pal, buddy, coworker
Family mom, brother, cousin
Humans boy, woman, group
Affective Processes happy, ugly, bitter
Positive Emotions happy, pretty, good
Negative Emotions hate, worthless, enemy
Anxiety nervous, afraid, tense
Anger hate, kill, pissed
Sadness grief, cry, sad
Cognitive Processes cause, know, ought
Insight think, know, consider
Causation because, effect, hence
Discrepancy should, would, could
Tentative maybe, perhaps, guess
Certainty always, never
Inhibition block, constrain
Inclusive with, and, include
Exclusive but, except, without
Perceptual Processes see, touch, listen
Seeing view, saw, look
Hearing heard, listen, sound
Feeling touch, hold, felt
Biological Processes eat, blood, pain
Body ache, heart, cough
Sexuality horny, love, incest
Relativity area, bend, exit, stop
Motion walk, move, go
Space Down, in, thin
Time hour, day, oclock


Work work, class, boss
Achievement try, goal, win
Leisure house, TV, music
Home house, kitchen, lawn
Money audit, cash, owe
Religion altar, church, mosque
Death bury, coffin, kill


Assent agree, OK, yes
Nonfluencies uh, rr*
Fillers blah, you know, I mean

Selected References

Pennebaker, J. W. (1997). Writing about emotional experiences as a therapeutic process. Psychological Science, 8, 162-166.

Pennebaker, J.W., & Francis, M.E. (1996). Cognitive, emotional, and language processes in disclosure. Cognition and Emotion, 10, 601-626.

Pennebaker, J.W., & King, L.A. (1999). Linguistic styles: Language use as an individual difference. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 77, 1296-1312.

Pennebaker, J. W., Mayne, T., & Francis, M. E. (1997). Linguistic predictors of adaptive bereavement. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 72, 863-871.

Pennebaker, J.W. (2002). What our words can say about us: Toward a broader language psychology. Psychological Science Agenda, 15, 8-9.

Newman, M.L., Pennebaker, J.W., Berry, D.S., & Richards, J.M. (2003). Lying words: Predicting deception from linguistic styles. Personality and social psychology bulletin, 29, 5, 665-675.