Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Great excitement for or interest in a subject or cause.
  • n. A source or cause of great excitement or interest.
  • n. Archaic Ecstasy arising from supposed possession by a god.
  • n. Archaic Religious fanaticism.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Possession by a god; divine inspiration or frenzy.
  • n. Intensity of feeling; excited interest or eagerness.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Inspiration as if by a divine or superhuman power; ecstasy; hence, a conceit of divine possession and revelation, or of being directly subject to some divine impulse.
  • n. A state of impassioned emotion; transport; elevation of fancy; exaltation of soul.
  • n. Enkindled and kindling fervor of soul; strong excitement of feeling on behalf of a cause or a subject; ardent and imaginative zeal or interest.
  • n. Lively manifestation of joy or zeal.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. An ecstasy of mind, as if from inspiration or possession by a spiritual influence; hence, a belief or conceit of being divinely inspired or commissioned.
  • n. In general, a natural tendency toward extravagant admiration and devotion; specifically, absorbing or controlling possession of the mind by any interest, study, or pursuit; ardent zeal in pursuit of some object, inspiring energetic endeavor with strong hope and confidence of success.
  • n. An experience or a manifestation of exalted appreciation or devotion; an expression or a feeling of exalted admiration, imagination, or the like: in this sense with a plural: as, his enthusiasms were now all extinguished; the enthusiasm of impassioned oratory.
  • n. Synonyms Earnestness, Zeal, etc. (see eagerness); warmth, ardor, passion, devotion.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a lively interest
  • n. overflowing with eager enjoyment or approval
  • n. a feeling of excitement

Etymologies

Late Latin enthūsiasmus, from Greek enthousiasmos, from enthousiazein, to be inspired by a god, from entheos, possessed : en-, in; + theos, god.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
First attested from 1603, from Ancient Greek ἐνθουσιασμός (enthousiasmos), from ἔνθεος (entheos, "possessed by a god"), from ἐν (en, "in") + θεός (theos, "god"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • "Even if people do not normally attribute the term enthusiasm to the Germans, believe me, we are enthusiastic," K+S chairman Norbert Steiner said on a conference call with investors.

    CBC | Top Stories News

  • I didn't know this, but the word enthusiasm comes from the Greek and Theos, which means "in God."

    CNN Transcript Jun 21, 2008

  • They show that, quite understandably, the enthusiasm is accompanied by uncertainty.

    Archive 2007-10-01

  • I don't have to post a snide little note to inform you that your enthusiasm is actually kinda stupid.

    My Harry Potter Experience

  • "Why then, daddy, if you are happier than we, what you call the enthusiasm of youth can have nothing to do with it, you know!"

    The Crew of the Water Wagtail

  • The scorners; the sneering, the frivolous, the unearnest, the unbelieving, the envious, who laugh down what they call enthusiasm and romance; who delight in finding fault, and in blackening those who seem purer or nobler than themselves.

    Westminster Sermons with a Preface

  • Despite the tribulations of the first two years of Obama, Americans seem still in favor of Democratic rule, but their "enthusiasm" is measured by only two of the Gallup battery questions, numbers 1 and 7.

    Stephen Herrington: The Invisible Six Point Democratic Lead

  • Choosing an actor who has not carried a film before based on their "enthusiasm" is never a good way to start ....

    Joe Johnston on Why Chris Evans was Cast as Captain America | /Film

  • Your kind of enthusiasm is good for my soul I tell you!

    How it begins.

  • The word enthusiasm is defined by Webster’s dictionary as “a strong excitement or feeling.”

    SHED Your Stuff, Change Your Life

Comments

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  • Enthusiasm, i.e. to be filled with the breadth of the Lord, used to be a sin; or at least a bit tacky.

    December 13, 2006