June 15, 2013
thrill (verb)
\THRIL\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
1 : to experience or cause to experience a sudden sharp feeling of excitement2 : vibrate, tremble
How do you use it?
After performing at the White House with her school chorus, Natalie felt that nothing would thrill her again in quite the same way.
Are you a word wiz?

Today when we speak of being thrilled, we are referring to a very pleasing experience, but the root word that gave us "thrill" referred to something unpleasant. What do you think the root of "thrill" meant?

The Old English word "thyrlian," which gave us "thrill," meant "to pierce" as with an arrow or spear. "Thyrlian" came from an earlier word, "thyrel," meaning "hole." The modern English words "through" and "thorough," as well as the last half of the word "nostril" (meaning "nose hole"), can also be traced back to "thyrel." Later, "thyrlian" became the basis of other words that still meant "to pierce" or "to penetrate." Then, a little over 400 years ago, the physical feeling of being pierced and the emotional feeling of being suddenly and sharply excited were connected. This connection resulted in a new meaning for "thrill."
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