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

Definition of enthusiasm

  1. 1a :  belief in special revelations of the Holy Spiritb :  religious fanaticism

  2. 2a :  strong excitement of feeling :  ardor did her work with energy and enthusiasmb :  something inspiring zeal or fervor his enthusiasms include sailing and fishing

Examples of enthusiasm in a sentence

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. The party supported its candidate with enthusiasm.

  6. He seems to lack enthusiasm for the work he's doing.

  7. Among his latest enthusiasms are sailing and fishing.

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.

Origin and Etymology of enthusiasm

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

First Known Use: 1603

Synonym Discussion of 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.

ENTHUSIASM Defined for English Language Learners


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

Definition of enthusiasm for English Language Learners

  • : 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 Defined for Kids


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

Definition of enthusiasm for Students

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

Seen and Heard

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