Definition of excite in US English:



[with object]
  • 1Cause strong feelings of enthusiasm and eagerness in (someone)

    ‘flying still excites me’
    ‘Gould was excited by these discoveries’
    • ‘Their struggle from such a low point in their lives inspires and… erm… excites me.’
    • ‘For me, Life Through My Eyes is about what inspires me, excites me, aggravates me, relaxes me, outrages me and helps me.’
    • ‘I am excited to see gay cinema coming into its own.’
    • ‘I was quite excited by the discoveries that afternoon, even though at the time I had no idea that I had actually bagged a new genus of fossil fish that day.’
    • ‘One of the things that so excited me at the outset was that this show is about my life!’
    • ‘My grandfather was excited by his discovery and contacted his brother to expand the program by working collectively with other events.’
    • ‘He felt excited by his discoveries and wished there was someone simpatico whom he could share it with.’
    • ‘Not many though write with such stark conviction that the music moves, scares and excites you all at once.’
    • ‘Nevertheless, I made him feel relaxed, and his work excited me.’
    • ‘The concept immediately excited Niels Bohr, Pauli, Einstein, Heisenberg and others interested in quantum theory.’
    • ‘That's all I wanted to do, not thinking that I would make waves, change minds, excite people, incite people, turn on people, repulse people.’
    • ‘In reality what it is about is trying to inspire and excite people to think about the town centre.’
    • ‘‘… The Fascist Brothel’ may well excite the art-rock lovers but those who crave for a bit of style to go with it may be left a little disappointed.’
    • ‘Indeed, the opportunity to hone his skills as a tactician and motivator excites him much more than completing a century knock.’
    • ‘For Davis to beat the recall, he must do more to excite his own troops to come to his rescue.’
    • ‘Not for a very long time has the discovery of new music so profoundly moved and excited me as the contents of this disc.’
    • ‘I told myself I wasn't returning to work until I could find a job that excited me in the worst way.’
    thrill, exhilarate, animate, enliven, rouse, stir, move, stimulate, galvanize, electrify, fire the imagination of, fire the enthusiasm of
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    1. 1.1 Arouse (someone) sexually.
      ‘his kiss thrilled and excited her’
      • ‘What excites a person sexually (particularly if it's only visual) is as distinct as that person's fingerprints.’
      • ‘Maybe he's very disturbed because he was excited by her pain?’
      • ‘I suppose one could see it as an old man getting excited by the sexuality of young girls.’
      • ‘Concentrate on areas that particularly excite you, but try not to stimulate only the most obvious bits.’
      • ‘Even the most graphic porn doesn't excite you any more.’
      • ‘Her fear, her attempts to resist him only excite his lust.’
      • ‘Also, boys who are smart get me very excited.’
      • ‘Doesn't excite me sexually, but I could certainly watch it again and again, even as it makes me wince.’
      • ‘Separated by the confines of the performance space, dancers perform the unsuggestible or move the figures in sexually provocative ways to excite a growing crowd and entice them to stay on their side.’
      • ‘There was a doctor at one point who basically would not perform the final surgery on a male to female person unless she sexually excited him.’
      • ‘He excited me in every way right from the beginning, and that excitement never went away.’
      arouse, arouse sexually, make someone feel sexually excited, stimulate, titillate, inflame
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  • 2Bring out or give rise to (a feeling or reaction)

    ‘the ability to excite interest in others’
    • ‘The disorder that displacement causes excites contemporary passions, for and against.’
    • ‘There is something specific about water that excites desire and envy.’
    • ‘An even closer examination excites a formidable reaction - that is to say, the price is worthy of the label!’
    • ‘But it is an investment which generates praise, rather than excites passion.’
    • ‘Third, to excite feelings of devotion, these being aroused more effectively by things seen than by things heard.’
    • ‘Therefore, I shall only name a few of the attractions, enough to elicit and excite the public curiosity.’
    • ‘It was wrong to use private letters from bereaved relations of soldiers killed in Iraq in order to excite sympathy for his own doubts and anguish, knowing that their suffering must be incomparably greater.’
    • ‘Similarly East Timor excited passions and dredged up long-suppressed feelings of national guilt.’
    • ‘The system is designed to send vibrations to sensitive parts of the driver's body, and it could excite feelings in them that have long lain dormant.’
    • ‘If the advert merely excites your curiosity or interest, something Maloney calls curious disbelief, that will be enough.’
    • ‘Yet it excites no nostalgia: glad to have been, we don't dream of going back.’
    • ‘Nothing in his uncle Gaius so excited his envy and admiration as the fact that he had in so short a time run through the vast wealth which Tiberius had left him.’
    • ‘There were very few overcoats amongst them, and their appearance certainly excited the pity and compassion of the people they passed.’
    • ‘If the sounds in music do not combine in a way that excites interest, then there is no reason to pay attention.’
    • ‘Can there be any group, on the entire planet, that so excites the hatred of the British public?’
    • ‘The smell of the sweet South Pacific sea air mingling with vivid island flowers excites the passions.’
    • ‘The aroma of the sea brought back fond memories and excited new feelings, the cry of gulls overhead was dearer than any symphony.’
    • ‘Holmes only chooses subjects that excite his curiosity and sympathy as well as his literary admiration.’
    • ‘It's interest groups that have gone public and have learned to excite public apprehensions and public opposition.’
    • ‘So, since their sectional interest excites no passions amongst the populace, some are attracted by more radical measures.’
    provoke, stir up, elicit, rouse, arouse, stimulate, kindle, trigger, trigger off, touch off, spark off, awaken, incite, instigate, foment, bring out, cause, bring about
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  • 3Produce a state of increased energy or activity in (a physical or biological system)

    ‘the energy of an electron is sufficient to excite the atom’
    • ‘Alkaline phosphatase-labeled complexes react with the substrate creating a chemical reaction and a source of energy to excite the dioxetane substrate.’
    • ‘‘In our new approach, the act of MRI scanning itself excites protons in blood cells as they pass through the plane of the scan,’ Judd explained.’
    • ‘The researchers sent single photons into a crystal whose atomic states had been excited by laser pulses.’
    • ‘The more massive salt molecules themselves need a larger contribution of energy in order to excite them.’
    • ‘Minute clam odor traces can excite the nervous system, which then launches an attack on the prey.’
    • ‘In conventional solar panels the energy from the sun excites electrons in a semiconducting material such as silicon, creating the current flow.’
    • ‘ATP provides the energy to excite the electrons, and luciferin is one of the relatively rare molecules that gives off energy as light rather than heat.’
    • ‘External energy pumped into the atoms of the lasing medium excites electrons to higher energy states; returning to their base state, they emit photons.’
    • ‘MRI relies on electromagnetic energy to excite water molecules in the brain to create an anatomical map of the brain.’
    • ‘The harmless radio waves excite protons that form the nuclei of hydrogen atoms in the body.’
    • ‘Heat is one example; if the sample is heated, thermal energy will excite some electrons up into the Conduction Band.’
    • ‘The absorbed energy excites electrons in the phosphorescent material and causes them to be caught in potential energy troughs.’
    • ‘Now, when this wavefront hits a material, some of the wavelets will hit atoms and excite electrons to a higher energy state.’
    • ‘The center also activates the autonomic motor nerve cells in the cranial nerve nuclei that excite peristalsis in the smooth muscle of the distal esophageal body and relax the lower esophageal sphincter.’
    • ‘By giving the vaccine along with another drug that excites the immune system, doctors can teach Bonet's own immune system to fight her cancer.’
    • ‘Normal epithelial tissue gives off yellow-green fluorescence when excited by helium-cadmium laser light.’


Middle English (in the sense ‘incite someone to do something’): from Old French exciter or Latin excitare, frequentative of exciere ‘call out or forth’. excite (sense 1) dates from the mid 19th century.