ex·​hil·​a·​rate | \ ig-ˈzi-lə-ˌrāt How to pronounce exhilarate (audio) \
exhilarated; exhilarating

Definition of exhilarate

transitive verb

: to make (someone) very happy and excited or elated was exhilarated by her success It's a demanding dining experience that may exhaust and exasperate some customers, but exhilarate those who desire a challenge more than comfort.— Thomas Matthews Uncle George tells stories … and exhilarates everybody with his good humour and hospitality.— Charles Dickens When antislavery senator Charles Sumner was honored in a demonstration that exhilarated antebellum Boston, Louisa was there …— Madeleine B. Stern

Other Words from exhilarate

exhilarative \ ig-​ˈzi-​lə-​ˌrā-​tiv How to pronounce exhilarate (audio) \ adjective

Did you know?

Many people find exhilarate a difficult word to spell. It's easy to forget that silent "h" in there, and is it an "er" or "ar" after the "l"? It may be easier to remember the spelling if you know that exhilarate ultimately derives from the Latin adjective hilarus, meaning "cheerful." (This also explains why the earliest meaning of exhilarate is "to make cheerful.") Exhilarate comes from exhilaratus, the past participle of exhilarare, which is formed by combining ex- and hilarare, a verb that derives from hilarus and means "to cheer or gladden." If hilarus looks familiar, that may be because it's also the source of hilarious and hilarity (as well as hilariously and hilariousness, of course).

Examples of exhilarate in a Sentence

the exhilarating feeling of flying that hang gliding offers the climactic moment of commencement ceremonies usually exhilarates graduates and proud parents alike
Recent Examples on the Web What did devastate and exhilarate, all these years, was Issa and Molly. The New Yorker, 22 Nov. 2021 Such applications of ambiguous irony allow President Trump to embarrass conventional media in ways that exhilarate his supporters. Dan Brooks, New York Times, 7 Oct. 2020 That said, don’t expect to exhilarate in the Ghost’s ability to carve canyon roads. Hannah Elliott, Bloomberg.com, 30 Sep. 2020 Like so many elements of this wise, empathetic, exhilarating show, the title, in its specificity, radiates a vitality that’s universal. Judy Berman, Time, 22 Apr. 2020 If anything she was exhilarated at the way her staff at the Providence Portland emergency room performed under considerable pressure. oregonlive, 25 Apr. 2020 The terrain is exhilarating, with punchy climbs; long, leisurely downhills; and minimal traffic. National Geographic, 22 Jan. 2020 In these exhilarating, vertiginous landscapes, technology triumphs, and the individual human being has vanished. Steven Litt, cleveland, 5 Jan. 2020 The production values, at their best, are exhilarating. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, 6 Apr. 2020 See More

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

First Known Use of exhilarate

1540, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for exhilarate

Latin exhilaratus, past participle of exhilarare, from ex- + hilarare to gladden, from hilarus cheerful — more at hilarious

Learn More About exhilarate

Time Traveler for exhilarate

Time Traveler

The first known use of exhilarate was in 1540

See more words from the same year

Listen to Our Podcast About exhilarate

Dictionary Entries Near exhilarate




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for exhilarate

Cite this Entry

“Exhilarate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/exhilarate. Accessed 14 Aug. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for exhilarate


ex·​hil·​a·​rate | \ ig-ˈzi-lə-ˌrāt How to pronounce exhilarate (audio) \
exhilarated; exhilarating

Kids Definition of exhilarate

: to make cheerful or excited

More from Merriam-Webster on exhilarate

Nglish: Translation of exhilarate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of exhilarate for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Commonly Confused Words Quiz

  • vector image of a face with thought expression
  • I went to the ______ store to buy a birthday card.
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!