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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.
Contemporary Examples

Yet given the window of opportunity in 2008 to say “I do,” I did—with the enthusiasm of the fiercest Bridezilla.
David Jefferson on His Four Gay Marriages and a Legal Victory Against Prop 8 David Jefferson February 6, 2012

The enthusiasm among Democrats for Barack Obama has subsided under the depressing pall of events since 2009.
Good Candidates, Bad Election David Frum August 7, 2012

Waxing (and Waning): enthusiasm is up overall among Republicans and down among Democratic voters in 2012.
Hurricane Sandy, Women, Momentum & More Keys to a Romney Victory Mark McKinnon October 28, 2012

But there’s a curious lack of enthusiasm among those masses ….
Canada’s Wannabe Obama David Frum March 11, 2013

On the campaign trail I learned many lessons, most prominently the enthusiasm with which voters reacted when told my age.
There’s No Better Test for Millennials than the American City Michael Tubbs April 18, 2014

Historical Examples

After the speeches from the opener and the opposition, the debate proceeded with enthusiasm.
The Girls of St. Wode’s L. T. Meade

But her interest in his hobby for once failed to awaken his enthusiasm.
Viviette William J. Locke

No reader could have guessed from my article my enthusiasm as I wrote it.
Our Philadelphia Elizabeth Robins Pennell

Burke slapped his leg with an enthusiasm that might have broken a weaker member.
Within the Law Marvin Dana

To the unity of enthusiasm corresponds the unity of the world, the monistic feeling.
mile Verhaeren Stefan Zweig

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

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.


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  • Enthusiast

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  • Enthusiastic

    full of or characterized by ; ardent: He seems very enthusiastic about his role in the play. Contemporary Examples It will certainly not happen without the enthusiastic support of the Obama administration, and that is far from certain. Mr. Brown Goes to Washington Andrew Neil March 1, 2009 Wisconsin Democrats were supposed to be enthusiastic […]

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    an expert on environmental problems. any person who advocates or works to protect the air, water, animals, plants, and other natural resources from pollution or its effects. a person who believes that differences between individuals or groups, especially in moral and intellectual attributes, are predominantly determined by environmental factors, as surroundings, upbringing, or experience (opposed […]

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