\ ˈthril How to pronounce thrill (audio) \
thrilled; thrilling; thrills

Definition of thrill

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 transitive : to cause (someone) to experience a strong feeling of enjoyable excitement The news thrilled him. a performance that thrilled the crowd It's just one of the 35 breathtaking stunts the 47-year-old daredevil pilot uses to thrill spectators at airshows across the country.— Jean Bryant — see also thrilled, thrilling
2 intransitive : to experience a surge of excitement and pleasure They thrilled to the sound of his voice. She remembers that her father thrilled to see his daughter's name in print …— David Ansen From the beginning, Americans thrilled to the Hubble's potential to do dramatic science, to take us intellectually where no one has gone before.— Chet Raymo Kit thrilled at the sight of the familiar red coats.— Elizabeth George Speare
3 intransitive, chiefly literary
a : to move or pass so as to cause a sudden wave of emotion … a faint cold fear thrills through my veins …— William Shakespeare
b : tremble entry 1, vibrate … the very rocks seem to thrill with life.— John Muir


plural thrills

Definition of thrill (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : a feeling of great excitement or happiness The thrill isn't gone from our marriage after all this time. the thrill of discovery/victory "The most fun thing I've done so far," [Dorothy] Parke reports, "is put my foot through a window. It was only breakaway glass; but it was my first stunt, and it gave me such a thrill."— Paul Francis
b : a tingling of or as if of the nerves produced by a sudden emotional reaction a thrill of horror a thrill of pride/pleasure/anticipation Harry felt a thrill of dread: He was about to pay for what had just happened, he was sure of it.— J. K. Rowling
2 : a very exciting or enjoyable event or experience What a thrill it was to see the Queen! a movie with a lot of thrills and chills [=exciting and frightening parts] the thrills and spills of skateboarding He had always fancied himself as having a fine voice, and now to hear it from his wife's own lips was a real thrill.— E. B. White

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Examples of thrill in a Sentence

Verb Circus performers still thrill audiences today. I was thrilled by their decision.
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb But the prospect of that triumph didn't sufficiently thrill him, apparently. Leah Greenblatt,, 28 Mar. 2022 This enthusiasm goes double for racing cars, which thrill people of all ages and backgrounds, and have for nigh on a century. Charles C. W. Cooke, National Review, 17 Mar. 2022 Likewise, Gabriela Hearst’s event allowed supermodel Lauren Hutton to thrill street style photographers in one of Hearst’s eco-friendly wool and silk cardigans. Janelle Okwodu, Vogue, 21 Feb. 2022 Audiences could thrill to three exhibition runs by the Wagon Master, a custom car that melded a Buick Riviera front with a station wagon body, powered by four engines, two front and two rear. Paula Allen, San Antonio Express-News, 6 Nov. 2021 Jaquez answered with 13 points by halftime while repeatedly attacking Mobley and making four of five shots to thrill the crowd of 13,659. Ben Bolch, Los Angeles Times, 5 Mar. 2022 Some of the new arrivals are conservative refugees from blue states like California, who thrill to the pugnacious style of politics that Trump personifies and others emulate. Los Angeles Times, 23 Mar. 2022 That the story seems to thrill her more is, narratively, something of a bold move, giving her another thing in common with her subject: a cool, and thus unfeminine, kind of steeliness, prizing achievement over likability. Philippa Snow, The New Republic, 9 Feb. 2022 The contradiction of our pairing never ceased to thrill me. Logan Scherer, Outside Online, 13 Jan. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'thrill.' 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 thrill


1599, in the meaning defined at sense 3a


circa 1680, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for thrill


Middle English thirlen, thrillen to pierce, from Old English thyrlian, from thyrel hole, from thurh through — more at through entry 1

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Last Updated

24 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Thrill.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for thrill


\ ˈthril How to pronounce thrill (audio) \
thrilled; thrilling

Kids Definition of thrill

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to have or cause to have a sudden feeling of excitement or pleasure

Other Words from thrill

thriller noun



Kids Definition of thrill (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a sudden strong feeling especially of excitement or happiness the thrill of victory … Harry felt a sudden thrill of foreboding.— J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
2 : something that produces a feeling of excitement The boys went into town in search of thrills.


\ ˈthril How to pronounce thrill (audio) \

Medical Definition of thrill

: an abnormal fine tremor or vibration in the respiratory or circulatory systems felt on palpation a continuous systolic and diastolic murmur, frequently associated with a thrill— R. L. Cecil & R. F. Loeb

More from Merriam-Webster on thrill

Nglish: Translation of thrill for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of thrill for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about thrill


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