Thrill doesn’t refer to any old type of excitement; this stuff is intense. For many people, the experience of riding a roller coaster provides a great thrill, or an intense feeling of excitement.

Thrill comes from an Old English word meaning “pierce,” suggesting the metaphor of being “pierced by emotion.” Thrill is often used in a strictly positive sense, though it can also refer to the unique combination of terror and pleasure that some people experience in certain situations — for example, when riding death-defying roller coasters or watching frightening flicks (often called thrillers).

Definitions of thrill

n something that causes you to experience a sudden intense feeling or sensation

“the thrills of space travel”
Type of:
excitation, excitement
something that agitates and arouses

n an almost pleasurable sensation of fright

chill, frisson, quiver, shiver, shudder, tingle
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)

n the swift release of a store of affective force

bang, boot, charge, flush, kick, rush
Type of:
excitement, exhilaration
the feeling of lively and cheerful joy

v cause to be thrilled by some perceptual input

“The men were thrilled by a loud whistle blow”
Type of:
excite, stimulate, stir
stir feelings in

v feel sudden intense sensation or emotion

“he was thrilled by the speed and the roar of the engine”
tickle, vibrate
Type of:
excite, shake, shake up, stimulate, stir
stir the feelings, emotions, or peace of

v fill with sublime emotion

“The children were thrilled at the prospect of going to the movies”
beatify, exalt, exhilarate, inebriate, tickle pink
Type of:
elate, intoxicate, lift up, pick up, uplift
fill with high spirits; fill with optimism

v tremble convulsively, as from fear or excitement

shiver, shudder, throb
Type of:
move or jerk quickly and involuntarily up and down or sideways

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