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Main Entry: 1thrill
Etymology: Middle English thirlen, thrillen "to pierce," from Old English thyrlian (same meaning) from thyrel "a hole," from thurh "through" --related to NOSTRIL, THOROUGH, THROUGH 1: to experience or cause to experience a sudden strong feeling of excitement <the news thrilled him> 2: VIBRATE 2, tremble <a voice thrilling with emotion> Word History Today when we speak of being thrilled, we are referring to a very pleasing experience. But it was not always so. The Old English word thyrlian, which gave us thrill, meant "to pierce" as with an arrow or spear. The Old English word came from an earlier word thyrel, meaning "hole." Thyrel has also given us two other Modern English words, through and thorough. It has also given us the last half of the word nostril, which literally means "nose hole." During the Middle English period the verb thyrlian became thirlen and continued to mean "to pierce." It also was the basis of the new verb thrillen, meaning "to penetrate." Then a connection was made between the physical sensation of being pierced and the emotional feeling of being suddenly and sharply excited. A new sense was born, which became the chief meaning of our thrill.