thrill

verb \ ˈthril \

Definition of thrill

transitive verb
1 a :to cause to experience a sudden sharp feeling of excitement
  • the news thrilled him
b :to cause to have a shivering or tingling sensation
2 :to cause to vibrate or tremble perceptibly
intransitive verb
1 :to become thrilled:
a :to experience a sudden sharp excitement
2 :to move or pass so as to cause a sudden wave of emotion

thrill

noun

thrillingly

play \ˈthri-liŋ-lē\ adverb

Examples of thrill in a Sentence

  1. Circus performers still thrill audiences today.

  2. I was thrilled by their decision.

Recent Examples of thrill from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of thrill

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



THRILL Defined for English Language Learners

thrill

verb

Definition of thrill for English Language Learners

  • : to cause (someone) to feel very excited or happy

  • : to feel very excited or happy about something


THRILL Defined for Kids

1

thrill

verb \ ˈthril \

Definition of thrill for Students

thrilled; thrilling
:to have or cause to have a sudden feeling of excitement or pleasure

thriller

noun

History for thrill

In the 1300s a person who was thrilled might not live long enough to tell about it, because the Middle English verb thrillen—the ancestor of our word thrill—meant literally “to pierce” or “stab,” as with a sword or spear. Thrillen was a variant of thirlen, which continued Old English thyrlian, derived from thyrel, “hole.” (The word thyrel also entered into Old English nosthyrl, literally, “nose hole,” the ancestor of modern English nostril.) Because the feeling of being pierced is a little like the experience of being moved by a strong emotion, thrill came to mean “to cause someone to feel excited.”


2

thrill

noun

Definition of thrill for Students

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.

Medical Dictionary

thrill

noun \ ˈthril \

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


Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up thrill? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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

WORD OF THE DAY

pleasing or sweet sound

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Forms of Government Quiz

  • knupfer-painting-solon-before-croesus
  • A gerontocracy is rule by:
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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