en·​thu·​si·​asm | \ in-ˈthü-zē-ˌa-zəm How to pronounce enthusiasm (audio) , en- also -ˈthyü- \

Definition of enthusiasm

1a : strong excitement of feeling : ardor did her work with energy and enthusiasm
b : something inspiring zeal or fervor his enthusiasms include sailing and fishing
2a : belief in special revelations of the Holy Spirit
b : religious fanaticism

Choose the Right Synonym for enthusiasm

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

What is the history of enthusiasm?

It may come as a surprise to many people, when they first look up the word enthusiasm, to see that its original meaning has to do with passion for religion, rather than passionate or eager interest in general. A brief explanation of the word’s etymology should clear this up. Enthusiasm entered the English language around the beginning of the 17th century. It was borrowed from the Greek enthousiasmos, meaning “inspiration or possession by a god.” For the first two hundred or so years that it was used in English, enthusiasm was primarily employed to refer to beliefs or passions that related to religion. By the beginning of the 18th century, however, the word began to be used to describe having strong feelings or interest in secular matters.

Examples of enthusiasm in a Sentence

Hour by hour, minute by minute, Guerrero is a racehorse, sitting upright in a chair, revising copy, clarifying names and places, sprinkling the reports with jokes while a producer talks in her ear—then delivering with breakneck speed and unflagging enthusiasm. — Joel Drucker, Cigar Aficionado, May/June 2003 The Gower has a bewitching effect on my children. Perhaps it is because of having been cooped up in the car for four hours, but once we are negotiating the windy road along this southern Welsh peninsula, they are all gushing with enthusiasm. — Emma Haughton, Times (London), 12 Aug. 2000 Now that he was awake, he couldn't understand how he could have slept through the racket the birds were making. "Oliver," Harry croaked. "It's the crack of dawn." "Exactly," said Wood. He was a tall and burly sixth year and, at the moment, his eyes were gleaming with a crazed enthusiasm. "It's part of our new training program. Come on, grab your broom, and let's go," said Wood heartily. These days, even the wiliest brand-builders are at least a little anxious about the emerging teenage market, with its stylistic balkanization, shifting folkways and unpredictably spiking enthusiasms. — Hal Espen, New York Times Magazine, 21 Mar. 1999 . — J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, 1999 The party supported its candidate with enthusiasm. He seems to lack enthusiasm for the work he's doing. Among his latest enthusiasms are sailing and fishing. See More
Recent Examples on the Web Breaking it down: For the first time in years, interest rates are rising, dimming enthusiasm for speculative investments and pushing investors to dump their tech holdings en masse. Julia Horowitz, CNN, 13 May 2022 And while enthusiasm marked the conversation on clean-burning hydrogen, some sounded caution about how the technology is scaled up. Denise Chow, NBC News, 12 May 2022 In the broad market, the declines may simply be part of a natural cycle in which excessive enthusiasm is periodically counterbalanced by gloominess. Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, 12 May 2022 In the private sector, ethics are often a footnote to enthusiasm, when they are mentioned at all. New York Times, 12 May 2022 Reversing apathy in a sport already lacking new enthusiasm is akin to a magic trick. Paul Daugherty, The Enquirer, 5 May 2022 As a result, Grey was initially opposed to having Swayze sign on opposite her in Dirty Dancing, despite his dance experience and enthusiasm. Jen Juneau, PEOPLE.com, 5 May 2022 That's an enthusiasm gap so wide … So hence the leak. Fox News Staff, Fox News, 5 May 2022 Watching the girls’ enthusiasm gives Anna’s mother and grandmother hope that Ukraine’s next generations won’t grow up feeling yoked by a Soviet legacy. Washington Post, 3 May 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'enthusiasm.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of enthusiasm

1595, in the meaning defined at sense 2a

History and Etymology for enthusiasm

borrowed from Late Latin & Greek; Late Latin enthūsiasmos "inspiration, frenzy," borrowed from Greek enthousiasmós, from enthousiázein "to be inspired or possessed by a god" (re-formation of entheázein —perhaps by crossing with thysiázein "to sacrifice"— verbal derivative of éntheos, énthous "possessed by a god, inspired," from en- en- entry 2 + -theos, adjectival derivative of theós "god") + -asmos, variant after -i- of -ismos -ism

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The first known use of enthusiasm was in 1595

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Last Updated

16 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Enthusiasm.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/enthusiasm. Accessed 25 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for enthusiasm


en·​thu·​si·​asm | \ in-ˈthü-zē-ˌaz-əm How to pronounce enthusiasm (audio) , -ˈthyü- \

Kids Definition of enthusiasm

: strong feeling in favor of something There were wild shouts of enthusiasm at this suggestion.— E. B. White, Stuart Little

More from Merriam-Webster on enthusiasm

Nglish: Translation of enthusiasm for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of enthusiasm for Arabic Speakers


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