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

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Other Words from exhilarate

exhilarative \ ig-​ˈzi-​lə-​ˌrā-​tiv How to pronounce exhilarative (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" 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 Like so many elements of this wise, empathetic, exhilarating show, the title, in its specificity, radiates a vitality that’s universal. Judy Berman, Time, "No Other Show Captures the Pleasures and Frustrations of Real Life Quite Like Vida," 22 Apr. 2020 If anything she was exhilarated at the way her staff at the Providence Portland emergency room performed under considerable pressure. oregonlive, "On the front lines of Oregon’s coronavirus epidemic: health care workers balance reward and risk," 25 Apr. 2020 The terrain is exhilarating, with punchy climbs; long, leisurely downhills; and minimal traffic. National Geographic, "https://www.nationalgeographic.com/travel/destinations/europe/italy/find-epic-action-in-northern-italy.html," 22 Jan. 2020 In these exhilarating, vertiginous landscapes, technology triumphs, and the individual human being has vanished. Steven Litt, cleveland, "Liu Wei uses dog chews to create anti-’Hall of Architecture’ at Cleveland Museum of Art," 5 Jan. 2020 The production values, at their best, are exhilarating. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Final Fantasy VII Remake spoiler-free review: Our kind of Cloud gaming," 6 Apr. 2020 And the result is just as infectiously exhilarating. Ann Hornaday, Washington Post, "The 34 best political movies ever made," 23 Jan. 2020 After a surprise appearance from dance/nightlife legend Kevin Aviance, Honey Dijon hit the turntables and delivered a lengthy, exhilarating DJ set that was easily the highlight of Friday night. Joe Lynch, Billboard, "LadyLand Festival Brings the Pride Party to Brooklyn With Pussy Riot, Yvie Oddly & More," 29 June 2019 The Summit Bike & Hike Trail The Summit Bike and Hike Trail is an exhilarating stretch of paved trail that follows a defunct railroad path through mostly-forested areas. John Pana, cleveland, "Outdoor adventures in Northeast Ohio’s parks," 19 Mar. 2020

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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The first known use of exhilarate was in 1540

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Cite this Entry

“Exhilarate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/exhilarate. Accessed 24 Sep. 2020.

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More Definitions for exhilarate


How to pronounce exhilarate (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of exhilarate

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


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

Kids Definition of exhilarate

: to make cheerful or excited

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