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Normally I use the word exorbitantly to describe an excess in a negative sense, however this time I used it to express an abundance of appreciation and gratitude.

Could a critical reading of "I am exorbitantly grateful for your words of support" be interpreted as over-the-top, or confusing? Does it properly highlight the humility of the person saying it?

Is this considered a non-standard, or a creative usage of the word?

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I think it's pretty stupid to have to use an adverb of manner that way. It's like saying that you're being sincere. If your interlocutors can't feel your sincerity, you're lying or they're potato heads. It's nonstandard and I hope it never becomes standard. It has only negative connotations and means excessive beyond the boundaries of propriety. It's about as creative as any schoolkid gets when blindly choosing a synonym from the thesaurus: eeny, meeny, miney, mo. –  user21497 Nov 13 '12 at 7:17
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Exorbitantly isn't usually used with grateful. I usually reserve exorbitant for situations that involve money- exorbitant prices for example. It tends to be used in places where the idea is more than it should reasonably be And I don't think you want to imply that you are more grateful than you should be. I also would not get humility out of that sentence. Why not say something like, "I am overwhelmed by your kind words of support." –  Jim Nov 13 '12 at 7:31
    
You're all correct... I was writing from the gut and I think the word that I wanted to say was "exuberantly". My brain sometimes mixes up words while I strive to articulate the intent. –  makerofthings7 Nov 13 '12 at 7:49
    
Hello makerofthings7 in that case, did you actually mean to ask if you could use " exuberantly grateful" and not as in the question? If so, you can edit it now. –  Kris Nov 13 '12 at 9:34
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3 Answers 3

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It's definitely not standard; "creative" would be a euphemism.

The definition of exorbitant is negative, and it has always been so, even in its Late Latin origin (see ODO):

adjective: unreasonably high
Origin: late Middle English (originally describing a legal case that is outside the scope of a law): from late Latin exorbitant- 'going off the track', from exorbitare, from ex- 'out from' + orbita 'course, track'

A modern idiom might be "so far off the radar it's out of sight," which again is more likely to be disapproving than laudatory.

Because of its negative feeling, if you were to use it in the way you describe it's very likely to be considered ironic, where you would be taken to be not particularly grateful at all for your friend's interference.

You could substitute extremely, just use very or (best, I think) leave it out altogether and simply express gratitude with "Thank you for your words of support, which were..." (for example, "very helpful").

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Since many native English speakers wouldn't know the meaning of the word "exorbitantly", I think it's fair to say that this word, in any context, might be misinterpreted.

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I think that the expression you are searching for is inordinately grateful. While this also carries a slightly negative connotation of immoderate, the Collins Dictionary does give the following

unrestrainedly, as in behaviour or emotion; intemperately ⇒ He is inordinately proud of his wife's achievements. ⇒ She looked inordinately pleased with herself.

and cites

It would have been easy, she thought now, for him to have pressed his advantage, but he had not done so and she was inordinately grateful.
Fraser, Anthea THE GOSPEL MAKERS

Having said that, I join the others who answered in recommending against your proposed use.

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