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From Old English þyrlian. Connected to Old English þyrel (archaic English thirl).



thrill (third-person singular simple present thrills, present participle thrilling, simple past and past participle thrilled)

  1. (ergative) To suddenly excite someone, or to give someone great pleasure; to (figuratively) electrify; to experience such a sensation.
    • 1937, Frank Churchill and Leigh Harline, “One Song”, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Walt Disney:
      One love / That has possessed me; / One love / Thrilling me through
    • M. Arnold
      vivid and picturesque turns of expression which thrill the reader with sudden delight
    • Spenser
      The cruel word her tender heart so thrilled, / That sudden cold did run through every vein.
  2. (ergative) To (cause something to) tremble or quiver.
  3. (obsolete) To perforate by a pointed instrument; to bore; to transfix; to drill.
    • Spenser
      He pierced through his chafed chest / With thrilling point of deadly iron brand.
  4. (obsolete) To hurl; to throw; to cast.
    • Heywood
      I'll thrill my javelin.

Derived terms[edit]


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.


thrill (plural thrills)

  1. A trembling or quivering, especially one caused by emotion.
    • 1935, George Goodchild, chapter 1, in Death on the Centre Court:
      She mixed furniture with the same fatal profligacy as she mixed drinks, and this outrageous contact between things which were intended by Nature to be kept poles apart gave her an inexpressible thrill.
  2. A cause of sudden excitement; a kick.
  3. (medicine) A slight quivering of the heart that accompanies a cardiac murmur.
  4. A breathing place or hole; a nostril, as of a bird.

Derived terms[edit]