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  • exhilarate
  • audio pronunciation
  • \ig-ZIL-uh-rayt\
  • DEFINITION

verb

1
: to make cheerful and excited : enliven, elate
2
: refresh, stimulate
  • EXAMPLES

"There is nothing like a cold swim to exhilarate the body," said Susan, explaining why she was considering participating in her town's upcoming Polar Bear Plunge.

"If being perched on a 2,000-foot coastal ridge in a lightning storm frightens rather than exhilarates you, then you might not be cut out for life on Kings Mountain…." — From an article by Aaron Kinney in the San Jose Mercury News (California), August 31, 2012

  • DID YOU KNOW?

Many people find "exhilarate" a difficult word to spell. It's easy to forget that silent "h" in there, and is it an "er" or "ar" after the "l"? It may be easier to remember the spelling if you know that "exhilarate" is ultimately derived from the Latin adjective "hilarus," meaning "cheerful." (This also explains why the earliest meaning of "exhilarate" is "to make cheerful.") "Exhilarate" comes from "exhilaratus," the past participle of "exhilarare," which is formed by combining "ex-" and "hilarare," a verb that derives from "hilarus" and means "to cheer or gladden." If "hilarus" looks familiar, that may be because it's also the source of "hilarious" and "hilarity" (as well as "hilariously" and "hilariousness," of course).

Test Your Memory: What former Word of the Day begins with "l" and can mean "one that is extraordinarily impressive" or "an outstanding example"? The answer is …

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