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 formsan·ti·en·thu·si·asm, nounhy·per·en·thu·si·asm, nouno·ver·en·thu·si·asm, nounpre·en·thu·si·asm, nounun·en·thu·si·asm, noun

Synonyms for enthusiasm

Antonyms for enthusiasm

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for enthusiasm

Contemporary Examples of enthusiasm

Historical Examples of enthusiasm

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


    William J. Locke

  • Burke slapped his leg with an enthusiasm that might have broken a weaker member.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • If his enthusiasm had not run counter to my rights, I might have admired it.

  • "But she is right," exclaimed Hubert, again carried away by her enthusiasm.

    The Dream

    Emile Zola

  • John felt that he had been rebuked for an excess of enthusiasm.

    The Foolish Lovers

    St. John G. Ervine

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 for enthusiasm

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

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