Gut Feeling – Meaning, Origin and Usage

Are you looking for a way to tell someone your intuition says to avoid a situation? You could tell them your “gut feeling” tells you to stay away. This post unpacks the meaning and origin of this expression.


The expression “gut feeling” refers to your intuition. We all have a part of us that affects our decision-making process. Some refer to it as animal instinct, others call it intuition, and some call it their gut feeling.

Ironically, the gut has a separate nervous system from the brain. It sends signals to the brain, letting you know when you need to eat. So, the saying “think with your gut” has some real truth to it. It means that you feel about something failing or going well, and it affects the way you feel about taking action on something.

If you get a gut feeling not to go into a haunted house, your subconscious mind alerts you to the danger and warns you to stay away.

Example Usage

“I don’t know how to explain it. I just have a gut feeling that something will go wrong if we go out there and start looking for the source of that sound.”

“I have a gut feeling that this is the investment we’re looking to add to our portfolio. I just get the feeling that the market is right for this purchase at the moment.”

“There is no way that I’m going to let you rely on your gut feeling to guide us in this situation. I’ll go with the data-driven approach instead.”

“Basing your decisions on a gut feeling can be risky, but sometimes it pays off. It pays off way more than you think, actually.”

“When I met my wide, I had a gut feeling that this would be the woman I end up spending the rest of my life with.”

“If you’re walking into a burning building, and you get a gut feeling to walk away, sometimes it’s

good idea to listen.”

“We all get gut feelings about certain decisions. Whether you choose to listen to your instinct or go with logic is up to you.”


Language experts are unsure of the origin of the expression “gut feeling” However, there is a record showing that the use of intuition in guiding the decision-making process extends back to the beginning of the species. Our gut feeling is the animal instinct we all have inside us that alerts us to danger or good fortune, depending on the situation.

We relied on our gut instinct to keep us out of the jaws of predators thousands of years ago. Today, we rely on our gut instinct to help us make the right decisions in life. Whether that to buy a new house or save your money, your gut feeling plays a huge role in your decisions every day.

Phrases Similar to Gut Feeling

  • Gut instinct.
  • Intuition.
  • Spidey-sense.

Phrases Opposite to Gut Feeling

  • Instruction.
  • The blind leading the blind.

What is the Correct Saying?

  • Gut feeling.

Ways People May Say Gut Feeling Incorrectly

The feeling doesn’t have anything to do with GI tract issues and intestinal issues like IBS and indigestion. Using it to describe digestive problems is incorrect. In this case, the “gut feeling” refers to your intuition, not your intestinal health.

Acceptable Ways to Phrase Gut Feeling

You can use the expression “gut feeling” to describe the influence of your intuition on your decision-making process. If you get a “gut feeling” that something is wrong, it’s a signal from your subconscious mind to back away because it senses risk. Likewise, a gut feeling could be positive, telling you that taking the risk is worth it.

The phrase suits social and professional use. Use it at work to tell your boss you have a gut feeling that the project will be a success or a failure. Use it at home to tell your partner you have a gut feeling the upcoming family vacation will be the best or worst one ever.

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