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

  • transitive v. To cause to feel a sudden intense sensation; excite greatly.
  • transitive v. To give great pleasure to; delight. See Synonyms at enrapture.
  • transitive v. To cause to quiver, tremble, or vibrate.
  • intransitive v. To feel a sudden quiver of excitement or emotion.
  • intransitive v. To quiver, tremble, or vibrate.
  • n. A quivering or trembling caused by sudden excitement or emotion.
  • n. A source or cause of excitement or emotion.
  • n. Pathology A slight palpable vibration that often accompanies certain cardiac and circulatory abnormalities.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To suddenly excite someone, or to give someone great pleasure; to (figuratively) electrify; to experience such a sensation.
  • v. To (cause something to) tremble or quiver.
  • v. To pierce.
  • n. a trembling or quivering, especially one caused by emotion
  • n. a cause of sudden excitement; a kick
  • n. a slight quivering of the heart that accompanies a cardiac murmur

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A warbling; a trill.
  • n. A breathing place or hole; a nostril, as of a bird.
  • n. A drill. See 3d drill, 1.
  • n. A sensation as of being thrilled; a tremulous excitement.
  • intransitive v. To pierce, as something sharp; to penetrate; especially, to cause a tingling sensation that runs through the system with a slight shivering.
  • intransitive v. To feel a sharp, shivering, tingling, or exquisite sensation, running through the body.
  • transitive v. To perforate by a pointed instrument; to bore; to transfix; to drill.
  • transitive v. Hence, to affect, as if by something that pierces or pricks; to cause to have a shivering, throbbing, tingling, or exquisite sensation; to pierce; to penetrate.
  • transitive v. To hurl; to throw; to cast.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To bore; pierce; perforate; drill: thirl. Compare thirl, 1.
  • To penetrate or permeate with a sudden wave of feeling, as of pleasure, pity, remorse, etc.; affect or fill with a tingling emotion or sensation. Compare thirl, 2.
  • To hurl.
  • To penetrate or permeate; pass, run, or stir with sudden permeating inflow; move quiveringly or so as to cause a sort of shivering sensation.
  • To be agitated or moved by or as by the permeating inflow of some subtle feeling or influence; quiver; shiver.
  • To quiver or move with a tremulous movement; vibrate; throb, as a voice.
  • To warble; trill.
  • n. A hole; specifically, a breathing-hole: a nostril. Compare nostril (nose-thrill).
  • n. A subtle permeating influx of emotion or sensation; a feeling that permeates the whole system with subtle, irresistible force: as, a thrill of horror.
  • n. In medicine, a peculiar tremor felt, in certain conditions of the respiratory or circulatory organs, upon applying the hand to the body; fremitus.
  • n. A throb; a beat or pulsation.
  • n. A tale or book the hearing or perusal of which sends a thrill or sensation of pleasure, pity, or excitement through one; a sensational story.
  • n. A warbling; a trill.

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

  • n. something that causes you to experience a sudden intense feeling or sensation
  • v. feel sudden intense sensation or emotion
  • n. an almost pleasurable sensation of fright
  • v. cause to be thrilled by some perceptual input
  • v. tremble convulsively, as from fear or excitement
  • v. fill with sublime emotion
  • n. the swift release of a store of affective force


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

Middle English thrillen, alteration of thirlen, to pierce, from Old English thȳrlian, from thȳrel, hole; see terə-2 in Indo-European roots.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old English þyrlian.


  • Professor Shairp defined the soul of poetry when he wrote: "Whenever the soul comes vividly in contact with any fact, truth, or existence, which it realizes and takes home to itself with more than common intensity, out of that meeting of the soul and its object there arises a thrill of joy, a glow of emotion; and the expression of that _glow_, that _thrill_, is poetry."

    Journeys Through Bookland, Vol. 10 The Guide

  • The actual case was described at the time as the crime of the century, and the basis of the term thrill killers can trace its derivation to this very case.

    Yes Weekly

  • I've been doing this for over two years now, but when I open the package and see that wonderful thing with my name on it, I have to say the thrill is as big as it ever was.

    April 2008

  • So I await more info and articles on OPML from you to see what the thrill is all about!

    FeedBurner Announces New Interactive RSS Service « Lorelle on WordPress

  • DELONG: Well, sometimes these things are just what we call a thrill killing.

    CNN Transcript Dec 1, 2003

  • Pat Quinn had what he described as a thrill of a lifetime when he took his turn in the Olympic torch run Wednesday.

    Edmonton Sun

  • The state's case against three Waupaca County men accused in what it calls the thrill killing of deer in January receives another big blow.

    WBAY Action 2 News

  • "African-Americans are still big fans of the first black president in U.S. history, but the thrill is gone," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

    CNN Poll: Obama brings new era of race relations?

  • The thrill is gone, the black Frank White is here to excite and throw dick to dykes

    Matthew Yglesias » Better Nutrition Programs

  • Even as an adult I feel a certain thrill when I see a little red check mark beside my name, for any reason.

    » Perfection and Parenting


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  • "...Do things ever give you a thrill?"

    Matthew ruminated.

    "Well now, yes. It always kind of gives me a thrill to see them ugly white grubs that spade up in the cucumber beds."

    -Anne of Green Gables

    April 18, 2009

  • And thus thrilling and boring are (unmetaphorically) synonymous.

    Also the root of the second component of nostril.

    January 12, 2009

  • thrill in the sense of drilling

    January 12, 2007