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[en-thoo-zee-az-uh m] /ɛnˈθu ziˌæz əm/
absorbing or controlling possession of the mind by any interest or pursuit; lively interest:
He shows marked enthusiasm for his studies.
an occupation, activity, or pursuit in which such interest is shown:
Hunting is his latest enthusiasm.
any of various forms of extreme religious devotion, usually associated with intense emotionalism and a break with orthodoxy.
Origin of enthusiasm
1570-80; < Late Latin enthūsiasmus < Greek enthousiasmós, equivalent to enthousí(a) possession by a god (énthous, variant of éntheos having a god within, equivalent to en- en-2 + -thous, -theos god-possessing + -ia y3) + -asmos, variant, after vowel stems, of -ismos -ism
Related forms
antienthusiasm, noun
hyperenthusiasm, noun
overenthusiasm, noun
preenthusiasm, noun
unenthusiasm, noun
1. eagerness, warmth, fervor, zeal, ardor, passion, devotion.
1. indifference. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for enthusiasm
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • After the speeches from the opener and the opposition, the debate proceeded with enthusiasm.

  • But her interest in his hobby for once failed to awaken his enthusiasm.

    Viviette William J. Locke
  • No reader could have guessed from my article my enthusiasm as I wrote it.

    Our Philadelphia Elizabeth Robins Pennell
  • Burke slapped his leg with an enthusiasm that might have broken a weaker member.

    Within the Law Marvin Dana
  • To the unity of enthusiasm corresponds the unity of the world, the monistic feeling.

    mile Verhaeren Stefan Zweig
British Dictionary definitions for enthusiasm


ardent and lively interest or eagerness
an object of keen interest; passion
(archaic) extravagant or unbalanced religious fervour
(obsolete) possession or inspiration by a god
Word Origin
C17: from Late Latin enthūsiasmus, from Greek enthousiasmos, from enthousiazein to be possessed by a god, from entheos inspired, from en-² + theos god
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for enthusiasm

c.1600, from Middle French enthousiasme (16c.) and directly from Late Latin enthusiasmus, from Greek enthousiasmos "divine inspiration," from enthousiazein "be inspired or possessed by a god, be rapt, be in ecstasy," from entheos "divinely inspired, possessed by a god," from en "in" (see en- (2)) + theos "god" (see Thea). Acquired a derogatory sense of "excessive religious emotion" (1650s) under the Puritans; generalized sense of "fervor, zeal" (the main modern sense) is first recorded 1716.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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