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First attested from 1603, from Middle French enthousiasme, from Late Latin enthusiasmus, from Ancient Greek ἐνθουσιασμός ‎(enthousiasmós), from ἔνθεος ‎(éntheos, possessed by god's) ουσία ‎(ousía, essence), from ἐν ‎(en, in) + θεός ‎(theós, god) + ουσία ‎(ousía, essence).


  • IPA(key): /ɪnˈθjuːzɪæz(ə)m/, /ɛn-/
  • (yod dropping) IPA(key): /-θuː-/
  • (file)


enthusiasm ‎(countable and uncountable, plural enthusiasms)

  1. (obsolete or historical) Possession by a god; divine inspiration or frenzy.
    • 1946, Bertrand Russell, History of Western Philosophy, ch. 1
      The intoxication that they sought was that of ‘enthusiasm’, of union with the god.
  2. Intensity of feeling; excited interest or eagerness.
  3. Something in which one is keenly interested.
    • 1968, Central States Archaeological Journal (volumes 15-16, page 154)
      My main enthusiasm is attending and seeing the progress and interest of collectors, to meet old friends, and hopefully to make new friends.
    • 2012, Nicholas Joll, Philosophy and The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (page 23)
      Other Adamsian enthusiasms included: fast cars; restaurants; Bach, the Beatles, Pink Floyd and Dire Straits; []

Related terms[edit]