intense enjoyment, interest, or approval (in current English vernacular)

Enthusiasm (Greek: enthousiasmos) originally meant inspiration or possession by a divine afflatus or by the presence of a God. Johnson's Dictionary, the first comprehensive dictionary of the English language, divines enthusiasm as "a vain belief of private revelation; a vain confidence of divine favour or communication." In current English vernacular the word simply means intense enjoyment, interest, or approval.


  • ENTHUSIASM, n. A distemper of youth, curable by small doses of repentance in connection with outward applications of experience. Byron, who recovered long enough to call it "entuzy-muzy," had a relapse, which carried him off -- to Missolonghi.
    • Ambrose Bierce, The Cynic's Dictionary (1906); republished as The Devil's Dictionary (1911).
  • Whenever the true objects of action appear, they are to be heartily sought. Enthusiasm is the height of man; it is the passing from the human to the divine.
  • The Greeks have given us one of the most beautiful words of our language, the word "enthusiasm" — a God within. The grandeur of the acts of men are measured by the inspiration from which they spring. Happy is he who bears a God within.
    • Louis Pasteur, as quoted in Spiritual Literacy: Reading the Sacred in Everyday Life (1998) by Frederic Brussat and Mary Ann Brussat.
  • There is real magic in enthusiasm. It spells the difference between mediocrity and accomplishment. … It gives warmth and good feeling to all your personal relationships.
    • Norman Vincent Peale, as quoted in Spiritual Literacy: Reading the Sacred in Everyday Life (1998) by Frederic Brussat and Mary Ann Brussat.
  • Unlike stress, enthusiasm has a high energy frequency and so resonates with the creative power of the universe. This is why Ralph Waldo Emerson said that, “Nothing great has ever been achieved without enthusiasm.” The word enthusiasm comes from ancient Greek – en and theos meaning God. And the related word enthousiazein means "to be possessed by a god.” With enthusiasm you will find that you don't have to do it all by yourself. In fact, there is nothing of significance that you can do by yourself. Sustained enthusiasm brings into existence a wave of creative energy, and all you have to do then is “ride the wave.”
  • The modalities of awakened doing are acceptance, enjoyment, and enthusiasm. Each one represents a certain vibrational frequency of consciousness. You need to be vigilant to make sure that one of them operates whenever you are engaged in doing anything at all – from the most simple task to the most complex. If you are not in the state of either acceptance, enjoyment, or enthusiasm, look closely and you will find that you are creating suffering for yourself and others.

Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical QuotationsEdit

Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 226.
  • However, 'tis expedient to be wary:
    Indifference certes don't produce distress;
    And rash enthusiasm in good society
    Were nothing but a moral inebriety.
  • No wild enthusiast ever yet could rest,
    Till half mankind were like himself possess'd.
  • Enthusiasm is that secret and harmonious spirit which hovers over the production of genius, throwing the reader of a book, or the spectator of a statue, into the very ideal presence whence these works have really originated. A great work always leaves us in a state of musing.
  • Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.
  • Zwang erbittert die Schwärmer immer, aber bekehrt sie nie.
    • Opposition embitters the enthusiast but never converts him.
    • Friedrich Schiller, Cabale und Liebe, III. 1.
  • Sonderbarer Schwärmer!
  • Enthusiasm is that temper of the mind in which the imagination has got the better of the judgment.

Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895)Edit

Quotes reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895).

  • Enthusiasm is the element of success in every thing. It is the light that leads, and the strength that lifts men on and up in the great struggles of scientific pursuits and of professional labor. It robs endurance of difficulty, and makes a pleasure of duty.
  • Every great and commanding movement in the annals of the world is the triumph of enthusiasm.
  • Be not afraid of enthusiasm; you need it; you can do nothing effectually without it.
  • In the whole range of human vision, nothing is more attractive than to see a young man full of promise and of hope, bending all his energies in the direction of truth and duty and God, his soul pervaded with the loftiest enthusiasm, and his life consecrated to the noblest ends. To be such a young man is to rival the noblest and best of men in heroic valor and Christian chivalry. Nay, to be such a young man is to be like Christ, the highest type, the most illustrious example of enthusiasm the world has ever seen.
  • Those who have arrived at any very eminent degree of excellence in the practice of an art or profession have commonly been actuated by a species of enthusiasm in their pursuit of it. They have kept one object in view amidst all the vicissitudes of time and fortune.
  • Depend upon it, my younger brethren, the bright, self-sacrificing enthusiasms of early manhood are among the most precious things in the whole course of human life.

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