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Two laughing girls from Ghazni Province, Afghanistan


From Latin exhilarāre (to delight, to gladden, to make merry), from ex- (prefix meaning ‘out, away) (from Proto-Indo-European *h₁eǵʰs (out)) + hilarāre, present infinitive of hilarō (to cheer, to gladden), from hilaris (cheerful, light-hearted, lively) (from Ancient Greek ἱλαρός (hilarós, cheerful, merry), from ἵλαος (hílaos, gracious, kind, propitious), from Proto-Indo-European *sōlh₂- (comfort, mercy)).



exhilarate (third-person singular simple present exhilarates, present participle exhilarating, simple past and past participle exhilarated)

  1. (transitive) To cheer, to cheer up, to gladden, to make happy.
    Good news exhilarates the mind; wine exhilarates the drinker.
    • 1621, Democritus Junior [pseudonym; Robert Burton], “Musicke a Remedy”, in The Anatomy of Melancholy, Oxford: Printed by Iohn Lichfield and Iames Short, for Henry Cripps, OCLC 216894069; republished as The Anatomy of Melancholy. What It Is, with All the Kinds, Causes, Symptomes, Prognosticks, & Seuerall Cures of It. In Three Partitions, with Their Severall Sections, Members & Subsections. Philosophically, Medicinally, Historically, Opened and Cut Up, Oxford: Printed for Henry Cripps, 1628, OCLC 220775438, part 2, section 2, member 6, subsection 3, page 276:
      Any and ſundry are the meanes, which Philoſophers and Phyſicians haue preſcribed to exhilarate a ſorrowfull heart, to diuert thoſe fixed and intent cares and meditations, which in this malady ſo much offend; but in my judgement none ſo preſent, none ſo powerfull, none ſo [a]ppoſite as a cup of ſtrong drinke, mirth, muſicke, and merry company.
  2. (transitive) To excite, to thrill.


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  1. second-person plural present active imperative of exhilarō