enthusiasm

noun
en·thu·si·asm | \in-ˈthü-zē-ˌa-zəm, 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

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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. was a slave 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. — J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, 1999 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 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.
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Recent Examples on the Web

These registration numbers are a window into the crucial issue of enthusiasm. Jeet Heer, The New Republic, "Democrats enjoy a huge party registration advantage in midterms.," 10 July 2018 After an initial burst of enthusiasm about the court opening, Republican politicians have characterized any questions about Roe's fate as scaremongering by Democrats. Author: Robert Costa, David Weigel, Robert Barnes, Anchorage Daily News, "Trump weighs top picks for Supreme Court amid last-minute maneuvering," 8 July 2018 That burst of enthusiasm ran out of gas with a chicken pot pie that bore neither identifiable chicken nor the characteristics of pie. Mike Sutter, San Antonio Express-News, "Review: Get the South out of your mouth at Hoppin’ John," 5 July 2018 Some of the enthusiasm is warranted, though not because there are tangible signs that the conglomerate is turning itself around. Spencer Jakab, WSJ, "GE’s Plan Rests on Promises and Some Sleight of Hand," 26 June 2018 She's thrilled by the possibility, and dismayed by her husband’s lack of enthusiasm. refinery29.com, "Book Club Proves That Women's Sexuality Has No Expiration Date," 21 May 2018 Three of his penny-stock ventures—two drink makers and a vitamin company with a tiered sales structure—enjoyed bursts of investor enthusiasm. Kyle Stock, Bloomberg.com, "How Two Million People Loved MoviePass Nearly to Death," 16 May 2018 Cordray, a quiet policy wonk, could benefit from a blue wave of Democratic enthusiasm. Jessie Balmert, Cincinnati.com, "Rematch in Ohio governor's race as Mike DeWine, Richard Cordray emerge in primary," 8 May 2018 The Marlins recuse themselves from any consideration as the honeymoon of enthusiasm over Derek Jeter's involvement in ownership lasted about a minute before crashing and burning like the Hindenburg in 1937. Greg Cote, miamiherald, "It's Dolphins vs. Heat for South Florida's heart, and why one has earned your trust | Miami Herald," 13 Apr. 2018

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.

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First Known Use of enthusiasm

1603, in the meaning defined at sense 2a

History and Etymology for enthusiasm

Greek enthousiasmos, from enthousiazein to be inspired, irregular from entheos inspired, from en- + theos god

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Statistics for enthusiasm

Last Updated

7 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for enthusiasm

The first known use of enthusiasm was in 1603

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More Definitions for enthusiasm

enthusiasm

noun

English Language Learners Definition of enthusiasm

: strong excitement about something : a strong feeling of active interest in something that you like or enjoy

: something causing a feeling of excitement and active interest : a hobby that someone feels enthusiastic about

enthusiasm

noun
en·thu·si·asm | \in-ˈthü-zē-ˌaz-əm, -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

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