• exhilarate •
Pronunciation: eg-zi-lê-rayt • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Verb
Meaning: To elate, to quickly elevate the spirits to exuberance, to suddenly stimulate into euphoria.
Notes: The participle of this verb, exhilarating, has been elevated to the stature of an independent adjective, capable of comparison (more, most exhilarating) and adverbiality (exhilaratingly) on a par with the original adjective, exhilarative. The process noun is exhilaration while any means of exhilaration is an exhilarant, which may also be used as an adjective). People and devices who produce this effect are exhilarators.
In Play: Exhilaration raises the spirits quickly to a very high level, "The announcement that the president was retiring exhilarated the entire work force at the plant." But try to extend your use of this verb by using its many derivatives, "Joy's presence served as an immediate exhilarant to all our discussions."
Word History: Today's Good Word is from Latin exhilaration(n), based on exhilaratus, the past participle of the Latin verb exhilarare "to gladden, exhilarate". This verb comprises ex-, here, an intensive prefix + hilarare "to cheer up". The root of this verb is from hilaris "cheerful" borrowed from Greek hilaros "cheerful, merry." Obviously, another kinword is hilarious. Sanskrit hlad "rejoice" and English glad also derive from the same source. In ancient Rome, Hilaria (neuter plural of hilaris) were a class of holidays, times of pomp and rejoicing. The root of these words, hil-, comes from PIE sel- "happy", which also produced English silly, via its Germanic ancestors.