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


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

Late Latin enthūsiasmus, from Greek enthousiasmos, from enthousiazein, to be inspired by a god, from entheos, possessed : en-, in; + theos, god.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

First attested from 1603, from Ancient Greek ἐνθουσιασμός (enthousiasmos), from ἔνθεος (entheos, "possessed by a god"), from ἐν (en, "in") + θεός (theos, "god").


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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