enthusiasm

noun
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

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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

The process of doing this vetting stigmatizes the entire community that is being vetted and decreases their enthusiasm for coming to the United States to advance our science. Jeffrey Mervis, Science | AAAS, "Powerful U.S. senator calls for vetting NIH grantees at hearing on foreign influences," 6 June 2019 This contrasted with his enthusiasm for Brexiteers, singling out Boris Johnson as a great potential successor to Theresa May as prime minister. The Economist, "Donald Trump’s visit to Britain goes well—at least for him," 6 June 2019 You could be filled with energy and enthusiasm, but the swiftness of your decisions and reliance on forward motion might drain your wallet. Tribune Content Agency, oregonlive.com, "Horoscope for June 5, 2019: Gemini, research major purchase first; Libra, watch restless urge," 5 June 2019 Audience members were pleased; a Mr. Brewster, who had his head measured and manipulated by Maxwell, later professed his enthusiasm for the new science in a letter to the Barbados Times. Christoph Irmscher, WSJ, "‘Materials of the Mind’ Review: The Lost Art of Reading Bumps," 22 May 2019 Everyone was offered Cuban coffee, perhaps the secret to Ros-Lehtinen's boundless energy and enthusiasm for a job she's held for nearly three decades. CNN, "Republicans explain in their own words why they are leaving Congress," 26 May 2018 While participants were cleaning, the study found that changes in GSR and HR were driven by factors such as emotional enthusiasm and excitement. Elizabeth Gulino, House Beautiful, "Apparently Cleaning Our Homes Gives us Just as Much Adrenaline as Race Car Driving," 7 May 2019 The success of genre-specific film festivals, such as Cinepocalypse, depends on this fan-base enthusiasm and dedication. Morgan Smith, chicagotribune.com, "Catch thrills and chills at Cinepocalypse horror film fest," 21 June 2018 The famed writer Isaac Asimov expressed his enthusiasm for it while on a 1975 PBS roundtable discussion with O’Neill. Matt Blitz, Popular Mechanics, "Why the World's Richest Man Wants Humans To Live on Floating Space Cities," 10 May 2019

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

1595, 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

17 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for enthusiasm

The first known use of enthusiasm was in 1595

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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 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

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Comments on enthusiasm

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