: to make (someone) very happy and excited or elated
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 ultimately derives 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).
"To be working, to be making a film for the cinema, at a time when so many people were wondering if that would ever be possible again, was exhilarating. We proved to ourselves the heady fact that we can still work, even under this pandemic, it does not need to rob us of everything we cherish." — Tilda Swinton, quoted in The Asbury Park (New Jersey) Press, 10 Mar. 2021
"Maxey's flashes have exhilarated, but his small stature, inefficient shooting, and defensive shortcomings loom large. If the Sixers truly want to compete, he's the kind of long-term project you might exchange for a win-now piece." — Christopher Kline, The Sixer Sense (thesixersense.com), 20 Mar. 2021
Test Your Vocabulary with M-W Quizzes
Name That Synonym
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