English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

In my native language, there is a single word to express the high energy and enthusiasm shown by many at the beginning of a new job/project/romance etc. Normally it is used with a bit of skepticism/sarcasm.

I am looking for a single word or phrase in English that expresses the same

share|improve this question
A new romance, or any new experience is a thrill. – Mari-Lou A May 21 '14 at 10:51
How about a 'new fling'? – WS2 May 21 '14 at 11:04
I would call it "initial enthusiasm". – ermanen May 21 '14 at 14:12
Would you accept Naivety? – BigHomie May 21 '14 at 19:22
Out of curiosity: What is your native language; and what is the word? – DarcyThomas May 21 '14 at 20:59

16 Answers 16

up vote 44 down vote accepted

Honeymoon period is often used to refer to this time.

any new relationship characterized by an initial period of harmony and goodwill.

share|improve this answer
I knew this word existed - but as I understand this is neutral. I am looking for a word which hints already that this is just the beginner's enthusiasm – zencv May 21 '14 at 10:13
@zencv how does it not mean that this is beginners' enthusiams? – Matt E. Эллен May 21 '14 at 11:28
Honeymoon period provides that connotation. – mxyzplk May 21 '14 at 13:20
+1. In my experience, "honeymoon period" strongly implies that this phase will be followed by some degree of disillusionment/disappointment. – alcas May 21 '14 at 17:24
@ArlaudPierre It wouldn't sound out of place in a professional context, and it's a phrase often used by highbrow media (for example the BBC: Nigeria leader ends honeymoon period: an article about how the energy and enthusiasm for a new (2007) Nigerian president was starting to slip) – user568458 May 23 '14 at 12:21

Novelty is related, particularly on the "used with a bit of scepticism" point. It typically indicates, if not enthusiasm, some level of interest found in a new and different situation.

"My new job is amazing!"

"Let's see if you still think that when the novelty's worn off."

share|improve this answer
The appropriate meaning of the feeling called 'novelty' is best brought about only in the expression when the novelty wears off. – Kris May 21 '14 at 13:05
@Kris This is true. In fact, I suppose it is often used to express one's own scepticism, rather than excitement or scepticism of another's excitement, at new circumstances. "I'm not sure about my new boyfriend; it's all rather novel." – mike32 May 21 '14 at 13:46
@Kris I have used the word novel positively. "This is a novel approach." I have also used it neutrally, "They sell novelties," or "It is a novelty item." – fredsbend May 22 '14 at 18:21
@fredsbend It's common to use novel in a positive sense, novelty is a different story in its connotations. All the excitement & enthusiasm the OP mentions in the question "is just novelty," wait until the veneer peels off! – Kris May 23 '14 at 7:54

Limerance: The magic of chemistry that happens in our brains when we fall in love.

Limerence has also been defined in terms of the potentially inspirational effects and the relationship to attachment theory, which is not exclusively sexual, as being "an involuntary potentially inspiring state of adoration and attachment to a limerent object involving intrusive and obsessive thoughts, feelings and behaviors from euphoria to despair, contingent on perceived emotional reciprocation”. -Wikepedia

share|improve this answer

Honeymoon period and infatuation are the two terms that spring to my mind.

share|improve this answer
Hi Erik, I think that 'honeymoon period' is already top of the list here. :) – Josh61 May 21 '14 at 18:06
'infatuation' is a very good suggestion, and expresses the skepticism that the OP seems to be looking for as well as 'honeymoon period' does. +1 – Nathan Hughes May 21 '14 at 18:21
+1 for infatuation. – keshlam May 21 '14 at 19:34
+1 ditto per @keshlam – bib May 21 '14 at 22:12

The initial rush, though often used of drug induced euphoria or an adrenaline surge, can also be used to indicate the high of a new job or romance:

There's no way to fully recreate that new job feeling, but leaders can promote the ingredient that fuels the rush of a new job...
The rush of making a new friend can most definitely be likened to the rush of a new romance, things just feel a tad more exciting

share|improve this answer
good one, +1 for the examples – zencv May 21 '14 at 10:56

In French there is a single word too, and I can find the following translations which are quite close to the idea you wish to convey:

  • fire in the belly: The emotional stamina and vigor, passion, or inner drive to achieve something, to take action.
  • elan: ardor or zeal inspired by passion or enthusiasm.
  • Also: oomph.
share|improve this answer
Don't tease us! Qu'est-ce que c'est? – Jeffiekins May 22 '14 at 21:00
The word? I was thinking of « fougue » but it is mostly in a romantic or sexual context. – Pierre Arlaud May 23 '14 at 7:53


Google infatuation definition says:

an intense but short-lived passion or admiration for someone or something. "he had developed an infatuation with the girl"

share|improve this answer

Euphoria is one word used to describe that intense feeling of happiness and expectation.

A feeling or state of intense excitement and happiness:
in his euphoria, he had become convinced he could defeat them


share|improve this answer
This isn't specific to a particular cause. – Barmar May 26 '14 at 22:48

The phrases love at first sight and at first blush both convey an initial infatuation that often is tempered by time.

share|improve this answer

The word gaga is about as positive as you can get and sums up your question.

not thinking clearly because you have very strong feelings of love for someone or because you are very enthusiastic or excited about something

I had a great first date with Dan last night. I think I am gaga over him.

New boss went gaga over my first few projects, now she expects perfect every time.

share|improve this answer

Consider the expressions:

"Things always look rosy at the beginning"

"The future always starts out looking rosy"

"Just wait until novelty wears off"

"New brooms sweep clean"

"Everything new is fine"

share|improve this answer
+1 for "New brooms sweep clean" – zencv May 22 '14 at 7:38

The word "zeal," or "zealousness," often indicates high energy or enthusiasm exerted towards a given activity. While it can be used in positive contexts, it also can be used cynically, as a way to to suggest that someone is too enthusiastic but lacks the experience that would give them a more balanced or laid back outlook.

share|improve this answer
Zeal, however, also indicates long-term commitment. The question was looking for a word that indicates short-term excitement. – fredsbend May 22 '14 at 18:24

smitten, this is probably what your looking for.

share|improve this answer
Hi Craiga, welcome to ELU. You could improve you answer with an example usage, especially for using this term in the context of a new job. – dwjohnston May 22 '14 at 23:25
Would you really use this word to describe the excitement of a new job? – Barmar May 26 '14 at 22:48


"to make (someone) feel or look young, healthy, or energetic again"

share|improve this answer

For romance there is a single word: twitterpated.

It seems that it was a real word before the 1940's, but the Disney movie Bambi popularized it.

You could use it for anything, like "He is twitterpated over his new job," but it is far more common for the thing to be a romantic interest.

share|improve this answer

"Enchant" seems to work in: "John was enchanted by the possibility of being able to redeem himself."

Also, http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/enchant gives us: "to attract and hold the attention of (someone) by being interesting, pretty, etc.", while Google gives us, as the first hit for "enchant", "fill (someone) with great delight; charm."

share|improve this answer
I implore you to visit the help center for guidance on how to contribute properly to this site. Answers are expected to provide some amount of explanation, including suitable references and links. – choster May 23 '14 at 6:48
This suggestion might actually work, but because you have a track record of answering questions with a single response this suggestion might get deleted. Why not explain why you think this word fits? Provide a link to a dictionary that backs up your guess. How hard is it? – Mari-Lou A May 23 '14 at 7:01
Or simply leave enchantment as a comment, if you're not willing to elaborate. Plus, as this thread clearly shows, there is no "single word". Your whole "The single word is:" preface seems like weak lead-in created solely to reach the required character count. – J.R. May 23 '14 at 19:41
@choster: Thank you for your critique. Having thought the answer was self-explanatory, I didn't see the need to provide corroborating links. However, I'm new to this site so I'll visit the help center and peruse the rules so as not to run afoul of the "law" again. ;) – EM Fields May 23 '14 at 23:01
@Mari-Lou A: Thank you for your critique. Of course your suggestions are easily realizable, but "guess" and "How hard is it" seem more like unwarranted pejorative slaps than genuinely constructive criticism. – EM Fields May 23 '14 at 23:14

protected by J.R. May 23 '14 at 19:39

Thank you for your interest in this question. Because it has attracted low-quality or spam answers that had to be removed, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site (the association bonus does not count).

Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.