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A Word A Day — ecstatic

September 04, 2012

Word of the Day

  • ecstatic
  • audio pronunciation
  • \ek-STAT-ik\


: of, relating to, or marked by rapturous delight

Naomi's face was ecstatic as she accepted first prize in the essay contest.

"Jordan Staal would much rather play with his brother than against him. Traded on his wedding day in June, he became teammates with older brother Eric Staal on the Carolina Hurricanes. 'We knew the family thing was a very intriguing part of this whole thing,' Jordan said Friday at a press conference, according to the Raleigh News & Observer. '... As a family, for me and Eric especially, we're ecstatic to have this come together as it did.'" — From an article on, July 27, 2012


"Ecstatic" has been used in our language since at least 1590, and the noun "ecstasy" is even older, dating from the 1300s. Both derive from the Greek verb "existanai" ("to put out of place"), which was used in a Greek phrase meaning "to drive someone out of his or her mind." That seems an appropriate history for words that can describe someone who is nearly out of his or her mind with intense emotion. In early use, "ecstatic" was sometimes linked to mystic trances, out-of-body experiences, and temporary madness. Today, however, it most typically implies a state of enthusiastic excitement or intense happiness.

From Merriam-Webster Online at

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Spokesman-Review readers blog about news and issues in Spokane written by Dave Laird.