Origin of the word
The word ‘entheos’ meaning ‘possessed by a god’ in Greek, and also meaning to be ‘in ecstasy or rapt’, led to an interpretation of ‘divine inspiration’ as ‘enthousiasmos’. In Latin, this became ‘enthusiasmus’ and then ‘enthousiasme’ in 16th century Middle French. Around the 1650s, in Puritan times, enthusiasm gained a disparaging sense equivalent to the display of ‘excessive and unbecoming religious emotion’ generally understood to be as a result of an individual’s fanciful notion that they enjoyed ‘special revelation(s) from God’. It was not until about 1716 that the modern sense of ‘zeal or fervour’ came into use.
Related words: enthuse, enthused, enthusiast, enthusiastic.
“There will be a fearless streak to the England side that take on France in the semi-final of the Women’s Rugby World Cup in Belfast tomorrow due to the youthful and feisty front row selection. Tight-head prop Sarah Bern is just 20 years old, and 21-year-old hooker Amy Cokayne are starting alongside 27-year-old loose-head Vicki Cornborough, who is starting place of the 127 cap veteran Rochelle “Rocky” Clark. Head coach Simon Middleton sees the undaunted Cokayne and Bern’s youthful enthusiasm as giving the squad a psychological boost.” – The Telegraph. 21 August 2017: England full of youthful enthusiasm ahead of Women’s Rugby World Cup semi-final.
“We don’t know just how high the 18-24 turnout was yet, and won’t do so for around a week, so don’t believe that 72% stat doing the rounds on social media. But it’s clear that young people flocked to the polls more than ever before, breaking a trend that has existed in UK politics since – well, for ever. Let’s hope that this enthusiasm among young people lasts.” – The Guardian. 9 June 2017: Lynton Crosby isn’t a genius – and five other lessons the election taught us.
1. the feeling of being very interested in something or excited by it
2. an activity or subject that you are interested in and excited about.