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 lack of enthusiasm among investors and executives suggests a countervailing force is at work. Washington Post, "Trump’s Trade War Puts Animal Spirits on the Endangered List," 18 Sep. 2019 But ticket sales were also good, so that was a wonderful indication of the enthusiasm for this type of event. Paul Sexton, Billboard, "How U.K. & U.S. Artists Are Fueling the Norwegian Americana Scene," 12 Sep. 2019 There was no lack of enthusiasm in that room; 17 tech companies big and small had committed to back Wi-Fi, including Apple, Dell, and Nokia. Wired, "How Wi-Fi Almost Didn’t Happen," 12 Sep. 2019 The plan, which could have transformed downtown, failed for lack of enthusiasm on the city’s part. Steven Litt, cleveland.com, "Bridge debate to nowhere: Lakefront pedestrian connection stuck while Mayor Jackson stays mum — Steven Litt," 1 Sep. 2019 Tony Krvaric, chairman of the Republican Party of San Diego County, said Cutter has generated a lot of enthusiasm among party members and the 77th District is considered one of the party’s priority Assembly races. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Republicans face uphill battle in unseating newly Democratic Assemblyman Brian Maienschein," 31 Aug. 2019 The researchers' passion is a measure of the enthusiasm the new model plant arouses. Elizabeth Pennisi, Science | AAAS, "Meet the monkeyflower, a weed that may hold the key to zebra stripes and other biological mysteries," 29 Aug. 2019 The boys only nodded, not rising to my level of enthusiasm. Chris Rush, Harper's magazine, "Love and Acid," 19 Aug. 2019 Talk is cheap; the ultimate degree of enthusiasm for AI will depend on what is delivered. Gary Marcus, WIRED, "DeepMind's Losses and the Future of Artificial Intelligence," 14 Aug. 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

23 Sep 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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