exhilarate

verb
ex·​hil·​a·​rate | \ig-ˈzi-lə-ˌrāt \
exhilarated; exhilarating

Definition of exhilarate 

transitive verb

1 : to make cheerful and excited : enliven, elate was exhilarated by her success

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Other Words from exhilarate

exhilaratingly \ig-​ˈzi-​lə-​ˌrā-​tiŋ-​lē \ adverb
exhilarative \ig-​ˈzi-​lə-​ˌrā-​tiv \ 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" is ultimately derived 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

And while looking ahead to next season is certainly exciting, the prospect of Black Friday markdowns is just as (if not more!) exhilarating. Madeline Fass, Vogue, "The Best Online Black Friday Fashion Deals to Shop From Home," 22 Nov. 2018 Getting to fly my first in Greenland in actual instrument conditions was a little nerve-racking, but exhilarating at the same time! Georgia Dean, Condé Nast Traveler, "Co-Piloting a 54-Day Flight With My Dad: Dispatch #1," 5 Sep. 2018 Brad Pitt, Christian Bale, Steve Carell, and Ryan Gosling star in the film, which feels like an angry, exhilarating, mad dash right off the edge of a cliff and into an abyss. Alissa Wilkinson, Vox, "5 movies that explain what caused the financial crisis, and what happened after," 14 Sep. 2018 Here’s proof that, if nothing else, protest can be exhilarating. Greg Kot, chicagotribune.com, "Greg Kot picks his top albums of 2018 ... so far," 6 July 2018 As for the rest of the field, here are 10 drivers to keep an eye on during the 200 exhilarating laps at the Brickyard. Editors, USA TODAY, "'Poppy Memorial,' Danica Patrick, NBA playoffs: 5 things to know this weekend," 26 May 2018 Coming just one day after a players-only meeting about the team’s shaky position, the game was exhilarating: a perfect feat of statistical improbability to dismiss the idea that this club should ever be considered a lost cause. Emma Baccellieri, SI.com, "What Is Wrong With the Washington Nationals?," 6 July 2018 Chamoiseau’s descriptions of the forest — beautifully translated from French and Creole by Linda Coverdale — are exhilarating, but the old man never quite comes into focus against the background of foliage and verbiage. New York Times, "Fleeing a Caribbean Plantation Into a Mythic Wilderness," 27 June 2018 All of this is told in exhilarating prose that moves this narrative briskly along without getting mired in the tall weeds of technical jargon. Scott Stantis, chicagotribune.com, "'Chasing New Horizons' spins fascinating chronicle of Pluto mission," 11 May 2018

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.

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First Known Use of exhilarate

1540, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for exhilarate

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

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Statistics for exhilarate

Last Updated

3 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for exhilarate

The first known use of exhilarate was in 1540

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More Definitions for exhilarate

exhilarate

verb

English Language Learners Definition of exhilarate

: to cause (someone) to feel very happy and excited

exhilarate

verb
ex·​hil·​a·​rate | \ig-ˈzi-lə-ˌrāt \
exhilarated; exhilarating

Kids Definition of exhilarate

: to make cheerful or excited

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Comments on exhilarate

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