enthusiasm

\ \ [17] Enthusiasm has had a chequered semantic history. Like giddiness, it meant originally ‘state of being inspired by a god’. It comes ultimately from Greek énthous or éntheospossessed, inspired’, a compound formed from the prefix en- ‘in’ and theósgod’ (as in English theology). From this in turn was derived the verb enthousiázeinbe inspired’ and the noun enthousiasmós, which passed into English via Latin or French, still with the sense ‘divine inspiration’ (‘Doth he think they knew it by enthusiasm or revelation from heaven?’ Richard Baxter, Infants’ church membership and baptism 1651). In the stern climate of Puritanism, however, divine inspiration was not something to be encouraged, and as the 17th century progressed enthusiasm took on derogatory connotations of ‘excessive religious emotion’. The modern approbatory meaning, ‘eagerness’, had its beginnings at the start of the 18th century, and by the early 19th century had ousted the deprecatory sense from leading place.
\ \ Cf.THEOLOGY

Word origins - 2ed. . 2005.

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  • Enthusiasm — ( gr. ἐνθουσιασμός enthousiasmos ) originally meant inspiration or possession by a divine afflatus or by the presence of a god. Johnson s Dictionary, the first comprehensive dictionary of the English language, defines enthusiasm as a vain belief… …   Wikipedia

  • Enthusiasm — En*thu si*asm, n. [Gr. ?, fr. ? to be inspired or possessed by the god, fr. ?, ?, inspired: cf. enthousiasme. See {Entheal}, {Theism}.] 1. Inspiration as if by a divine or superhuman power; ecstasy; hence, a conceit of divine possession and… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • enthusiasm — index ardor, compulsion (obsession), emotion, industry (activity), interest (concern), life …   Law dictionary

  • enthusiasm — c.1600, from M.Fr. enthousiasme (16c.) and directly from L.L. enthusiasmus, from Gk. enthousiasmos divine inspiration, from enthousiazein be inspired or possessed by a god, be rapt, be in ecstasy, from entheos divinely inspired, possessed by a… …   Etymology dictionary

  • enthusiasm — fervor, ardor, *passion, zeal Antonyms: apathy Contrasted words: impassivity, phlegm, stolidity (see under IMPASSIVE): unconcern, detachment, aloofness, indifference (see corresponding adjectives at INDIFFERENT) …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • enthusiasm — [n] keen interest, excitement activity, ardency, ardor, avidity, conviction, craze, dash, devotion, eagerness, earnestness, ecstasy, élan, emotion, energy, exhilaration, fad, fanaticism, feeling, fervor, fever, fieriness, fire, flame, flare,… …   New thesaurus

  • enthusiasm — ► NOUN 1) intense enjoyment, interest, or approval. 2) an object of such feelings. 3) archaic, derogatory religious fervour supposedly resulting directly from divine inspiration. ORIGIN Greek enthousiasmos, from enthous possessed by a god …   English terms dictionary

  • enthusiasm — [en tho͞o′zē az΄əm, enthyo͞o′zē az΄əm; intho͞o′zē az΄əm, inthyo͞o′zē azəm] n. [Gr enthousiasmos < enthousiazein, to be inspired, be possessed by a god, inspire < enthous, entheos, possessed by a god < en , in + theos, god: see THEO ] 1.… …   English World dictionary

  • enthusiasm — noun ADJECTIVE ▪ burning, enormous, extraordinary, immense, passionate, tremendous ▪ considerable, great ▪ little …   Collocations dictionary

  • enthusiasm — en|thu|si|as|m W3 [ınˈθju:ziæzəm US ınˈθu: ] n [Date: 1500 1600; : Greek; Origin: enthousiasmos, from entheos filled (by a god) with sudden strong abilities , from theos god ] 1.) [U] a strong feeling of interest and enjoyment about something and …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • enthusiasm — n. 1) to arouse, kindle, stir up enthusiasm 2) to demonstrate, display, show; radiate enthusiasm 3) to dampen smb. s enthusiasm 4) boundless, great, unbounded, unbridled, wild enthusiasm 5) enthusiasm for 6) the enthusiasm to + inf. (they had… …   Combinatory dictionary

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