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

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
exhilarative 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 So buckle up because with Guillermo Cornejo at the helm, the journey is bound to be exhilarating. Tyler Shepherd, USA TODAY, 1 Apr. 2024 Embarking on the adventure of finding a second home can be exhilarating. Andy J. Semotiuk, Forbes, 28 Mar. 2024 With Rear Window, Hitchcock and his collaborators miraculously craft an exhilarating, satisfying mystery-thriller while confining the protagonist to a single location. Wesley Stenzel, EW.com, 27 Mar. 2024 Over the decades, he’s maintained the same steady demeanor through exhilarating highs and harrowing lows. Michal Lev-Ram, Fortune, 25 Mar. 2024 Though he’s most often associated with exhilarating crime sagas like Goodfellas and The Departed (not to mention his depictions of violence), Scorsese has repeatedly proven to be adept at practically every genre, from religious epics and cerebral thrillers to black comedies and domestic dramas. Wesley Stenzel, EW.com, 9 Mar. 2024 Marrying style and durability, these frames shield your eyes during your exhilarating outdoor adventures. Rana Good, Forbes, 29 Feb. 2024 The region’s diverse terrain caters to all biking disciplines, from exhilarating downhill and cross-country trails to scenic road routes, with the growing popularity of e-bikes making these adventures more accessible for riders of varying skill levels. Jonny Bierman, Vogue, 27 Feb. 2024 Being an entrepreneur offers the exhilarating freedom to navigate your own path, empowering you to chase your passions while staying true to your values and vision. Womensmedia, Forbes, 14 Feb. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'exhilarate.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

1540, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of exhilarate was in 1540


Dictionary Entries Near exhilarate

Cite this Entry

“Exhilarate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/exhilarate. Accessed 18 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


ex·​hil·​a·​rate ig-ˈzil-ə-ˌrāt How to pronounce exhilarate (audio)
exhilarated; exhilarating
: to cause to feel cheerful or lively : put into high spirits
the fresh air exhilarated us
exhilarative adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on exhilarate

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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