frisson

A frisson is a thrilling shiver. Some people love roller coasters so much that they feel a frisson of excitement just looking at one.

You're just as likely to feel a frisson whether you're scared or excited; its meaning lies directly between thrill and fear. When you hear a scary sound in the basement late at night, and open the door to investigate, you might feel a frisson of fear as you start to descend the steps. The Latin root is frigere, "to be cold," and while a frisson is certainly shivery, its source is a thrill rather than a chill.

Definitions of frisson
  1. noun
    an almost pleasurable sensation of fright
    “a frisson of surprise shot through him”
    synonyms: chill, quiver, shiver, shudder, thrill, tingle
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    type of:
    fear, fearfulness, fright
    an emotion experienced in anticipation of some specific pain or danger (usually accompanied by a desire to flee or fight)
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