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

Definition of thrill

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : 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 : 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 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 Saul thrilled, too, to figurative painters who had fallen from fashion in New York as abstraction became well-nigh obligatory: Salvador Dali, Thomas Hart Benton, Paul Cadmus, George Tooker. Peter Schjeldahl, The New Yorker, "The In-Your-Face Paintings of Peter Saul," 10 Feb. 2020 Ellis said the league was thrilled with the reception that last year's ad received, including its first Ad Meter title. Tom Schad, USA TODAY, "After last year's Ad Meter win, the NFL is back with another 'juggernaut' ad for Super Bowl LIV," 28 Jan. 2020 For her part, Ross is thrilled that the Goop Lab will help Dodson’s work will reach a new audience. Erika W. Smith,, "All About The Masturbation Technique In The Goop Lab," 27 Jan. 2020 But even with the possibility of a boost in local sales, winemakers in states such as California aren’t thrilled either. Natasha Frost, Quartz, "Tariffs on European wine will hurt everyone but their intended targets," 7 Jan. 2020 Jessye Norman thrilled the opera world for decades, with a voice that has always been described in superlative terms: shimmering, rapturous, sumptuous, magnificent. Ellen Mcgirt, Fortune, "Jessye Norman Exits the Stage: raceAhead," 1 Oct. 2019 Cherry’s stars say they have been thrilled by his approach and the series’ freshness. Los Angeles Times, "‘Desperate Housewives’ gossip created ‘problems’ on set, but creator Marc Cherry says he’s better for it," 14 Aug. 2019 We are thrilled by their decision and what that will mean for the long-term future of our economy. Jordyn Grzelewski, cleveland, "Warrensville Heights to lose jobs, tax revenue in Sherwin-Williams facility consolidation," 7 Feb. 2020 When Netflix announced the arrival of an original new series Ragnorak, fans were thrilled by the news and naturally wanted to link it to the Marvel's God of Thunder Thor (played by Chris Hemsworth). Ineye Komonibo,, "Is Thor Connected To Netflix’s Fantasy Series Ragnorak?," 30 Jan. 2020

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 transitive 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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Time Traveler for thrill

Time Traveler

The first known use of thrill was in 1599

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Statistics for thrill

Last Updated

25 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Thrill.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for thrill


How to pronounce thrill (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of thrill

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to cause (someone) to feel very excited or happy
: to feel very excited or happy about something



English Language Learners Definition of thrill (Entry 2 of 2)

: a feeling of great excitement or happiness
: a very exciting or enjoyable event or experience


\ 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, 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

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