ar·​dor ˈär-dər How to pronounce ardor (audio)
: an often restless or transitory warmth of feeling
the sudden ardors of youth
: extreme vigor or energy : intensity
the ardor of a true believer
: zeal
: sexual excitement
Choose the Right Synonym for ardor

passion, fervor, ardor, enthusiasm, zeal mean intense emotion compelling action.

passion applies to an emotion that is deeply stirring or ungovernable.

gave in to his passions

fervor implies a warm and steady emotion.

read the poem aloud with great fervor

ardor suggests warm and excited feeling likely to be fitful or short-lived.

the ardor of their honeymoon soon faded

enthusiasm applies to lively or eager interest in or admiration for a proposal, cause, or activity.

never showed much enthusiasm for sports

zeal implies energetic and unflagging pursuit of an aim or devotion to a cause.

preaches with fanatical zeal

Examples of ardor in a Sentence

the sudden ardors of youth candidates for citizenship reciting the oath of allegiance to the United States with all the ardor that they could muster
Recent Examples on the Web In both cases, human beings, writing with an ardor and an inspiration that indeed seem sacred, went to the edge of the knowable. James Wood, The New Yorker, 4 Mar. 2024 In Europe, the ardor for ESG regulations has somewhat cooled. Camille Fumard, Fortune Europe, 22 Feb. 2024 See all Example Sentences for ardor 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'ardor.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English ardour, borrowed from Anglo-French ardur, ardour "burning, fever, passion," borrowed from Latin ardōr-, ardor "burning, flash of light, extreme heat, mental excitement, eagerness, passion," from ardēre "to burn, be fiercely hot, be violently excited, be eager" + -ōr-, -or (earlier *-ōs-, *-ōs), abstract noun suffix — more at ardent

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of ardor was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near ardor

Cite this Entry

“Ardor.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


ar·​dor ˈärd-ər How to pronounce ardor (audio)
: a warmth of feeling
: great eagerness : zeal

More from Merriam-Webster on ardor

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