\ 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

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 People like Zuckerberg, who thrill at the thought of a metaverse as described in such works of science fiction as Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson, are missing the point of those books, Hanke says. Kristine Gill, Fortune, 1 Dec. 2021 The result is an exercise in retro-upon-retro nostalgia that feels as ill-defined as a Xerox of a Xerox, though die-hard dad mods will thrill to its styling and soundtrack. Guy Lodge, Variety, 17 Nov. 2021 That probably won't thrill a lot of fans who come for the wham-bam deluge of intergalactic battlefields and Infinity Stones, even though there's more than enough byzantine mythology and noisy CG battles in its 2-hour-and-37-minute runtime. Leah Greenblatt,, 26 Oct. 2021 The Haunted Trail is the spookier option, with lots of surprises to thrill older kids (9 and up; two early exits provided). Anchorage Daily News, 21 Oct. 2021 Who of international superstars, a visit to Madame Tussauds Dubai has something for everyone and is destined to thrill all ages. Debbi Kickham, Forbes, 22 Sep. 2021 Check out how beautiful and meaningful the visual is, and note a short video of this and picture of each person’s leaf would thrill remote workers, hybrid, and in-office workers. Christine Comaford, Forbes, 11 Nov. 2021 While Churchill could thrill or weep (and Churchill was a cryer) at the swirl of Shakespearean drama, his intimate knowledge of the Bard wasn’t simply recreational. Tod Worner, National Review, 17 Oct. 2021 Naturally, the new owner, Gavin Keyzar, quickly cottoned-on to the car’s celebrity status and returned it to its Bond configuration with copies of the original tradecraft componentry, essentially giving the Aston back its license to thrill. Howard Walker, Robb Report, 8 Oct. 2021

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

14 Dec 2021

Cite this Entry

“Thrill.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for thrill



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, 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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