Definition of rapture in US English:



  • 1A feeling of intense pleasure or joy.

    ‘Leonora listened with rapture’
    • ‘In the late '70s, anticipation would have had us in near rapture waiting for another Annie Hall or Manhattan, but alas we have entered a new century, and cynicism is the order of the day.’
    • ‘The Westport contingent in the stadium was in rapture as Eamon was declared the winner, another title for St. Annes but they werent finished there.’
    • ‘I was fascinated by roller coasters even then so after a couple of rides on it with my Dad my rapture just multiplied.’
    • ‘Tuesday's first night performance at the Festival Theatre was greeted with rapture by a large audience who were enthralled by the Wales Theatre Company's interpretation.’
    • ‘The alcohol and the gyrating male bodies onstage combine to bring the women to a state of frenzied rapture.’
    • ‘Shelley went into rapture when he saw a wandering cloud and he celebrated the moment with a song.’
    • ‘She had that almost vacant-eyed look of the other girls, lost in rapture over the chords of Jerry Garcia and fueled by the music, the dancing and some psychotropic drug.’
    • ‘It would now be impossible to imagine a repeat of July 1914 when crowds in Vienna erupted into rapture as war was declared.’
    • ‘The frontal lobe is the seat of concentration and attention; the limbic system is where powerful feelings, including rapture, are processed.’
    • ‘Every one of them was involved in the build up to the goal which sent the reinvigorated fans into rapture.’
    • ‘In this painting, joy, rapture, release, and escape are all terms that become important, even if their value is always of the verge of becoming equivocal.’
    • ‘Her body would spasm with joyous rapture at the mere thought of it.’
    • ‘I whooped and hollered as I pumped on the accelerator, and the girls squealed with joyful rapture.’
    • ‘Standing beneath that wall, I let my fantasy enclose me in rapture.’
    • ‘She took tea with her remaining admirers, but in the age of beat poetry and the apolitical pursuit of rapture, seemed something of a relic.’
    • ‘While he hasn't put a title to his collection, one cannot miss the sense of rapture and enchantment that the paintings seem to convey.’
    • ‘Each performer was wrapped up in the world of the music, and their rapture quickly spread to the audience.’
    • ‘With rapture, I also noticed there were special ‘milk’ and ‘water’ buttons to aid my learning curve.’
    • ‘Music can impart in us a feeling of melancholy and sorrow, rapture and euphoria.’
    • ‘In her youth Queen Victoria listened with rapture to the impressive and glorious music of the great oratorios rendered in the Minster.’
    ecstasy, bliss, euphoria, elation, exaltation, joy, joyfulness, joyousness, cloud nine, seventh heaven, transport, rhapsody, enchantment, delight, exhilaration, happiness, pleasure, ravishment
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    1. 1.1raptures Expressions of intense pleasure or enthusiasm about something.
      ‘the tabloids went into raptures about her’
      • ‘It was a performance that had local commentators in raptures, and speculating that next October, when she makes her debut at the Hawaii Ironman, she could make quite an impact.’
      • ‘The thrills sent the men, women and children into raptures.’
      • ‘Edinburgh's food lovers are in raptures over Crolla's new project - and rightly so’
      • ‘More to the point, while the food was never likely to send either of us into raptures, it was certainly well above average, and very sensibly priced.’
      • ‘This explanation from the magician had the audience in raptures.’
      • ‘A little while later, Katrina arrived and the crowd went into raptures.’
      • ‘When we return home and develop the photographs, our friends and relatives go into raptures over the scenery and the landscape.’
      • ‘It would be easy to go into raptures about the role and the film, set in working-class London of 1950.’
      • ‘But while archaeologists are still in raptures over the images, mostly depicting animals, trust chiefs running the site believe it could spell great things for the area.’
      • ‘The highlight of the day, however, was a mimicry show by cine actor, Jayaram, which left the students in raptures.’
      • ‘Retired All-Black Murray Mexted, commentating on TV during the last match, was in raptures.’
      • ‘The home crowd were in raptures, cries of ‘Ole Ole’ echoing around the stadium as their players lined up to pepper the Thistle goal.’
      • ‘Normally, a 13 point victory over the old enemy would have Mayo people in raptures, but when the final whistle went in Garrymore, their was a mild air of disappointment among the home fans.’
      • ‘Gary's smashing of the 21-year-old record has sent the gaming world into raptures, because many thought 389,770 was a high score that would never be beaten.’
      • ‘Her subjects, just yards away, were in raptures.’
      • ‘Conlon's rocket sent his side's supporters into raptures but O'Donohoe held his nerve to cut short the Sligo side's premature celebrations.’
      • ‘As ever, his arrogance and ignorance grated on everyone who cannot abide him, and left those who adore him (mainly confined to some quarters of the United States) in raptures.’
      • ‘But it's not just the music that had the audience in raptures - it's the sheer exuberance of their stage performance.’
      • ‘A lady went into raptures about the cheeseboard, and the complexity of the flavour of the mature cheddar.’
      • ‘In this, he receives the support of those sections of the Russian intelligentsia who went into raptures about Gorbachev at the end of the 1980s.’
      enthuse, rhapsodize, rave, gush, wax lyrical, express intense enthusiasm, express intense pleasure
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  • 2North American (according to some millenarian teaching) the transporting of believers to heaven at the Second Coming of Christ.

    • ‘You know, reverend, we're so excited about the Rapture.’
    • ‘The book is called Left Behind and is about the Rapture, from the book of Revelation in the Bible.’
    • ‘These focus on salvation, the Rapture, and the Second Coming of Jesus.’
    • ‘Protestant fundamentalists believe that shortly before the end, all the born-again Christians with true faith will be snatched up to heaven; they call this Rapture.’
    • ‘The October 11 date he set for the Rapture came and went uneventfully.’


[with object]usually be raptured
North American
  • (according to some millenarian teaching) transport (a believer) from earth to heaven at the Second Coming of Christ.

    • ‘Will anyone but Christians have a shot at being raptured?’
    • ‘On top of that, some believe that they will be raptured to safety in heaven, while others believe that they will be raptured to a place of safety on earth.’
    • ‘If you think that demonic powers are present at the moment, just wait until the saints have been raptured away and Satan and his armies have taken full control of the earth.’
    • ‘Christ will return secretly to rapture his saints before the great tribulation.’
    • ‘Reader Keith Stump of Indianapolis, Indiana, refers us to a service that offers to notify family and friends when a Christian gets raptured away into Heaven.’


Late 16th century (in the sense ‘seizing and carrying off’): from obsolete French, or from medieval Latin raptura ‘seizing’, partly influenced by rapt.