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I'm sure you've met someone like this; a person whose understanding of nature, structure and the universe leaves them constantly awed by the complexity of practically everything.

I'm looking for a word (English or borrowed) that describes a person with that constant elation of someone who has lived half a life in a small flat in a dull city but is suddenly taken on an all expenses paid round-the-world tour.

Awe and Wonder are nouns that I think convey this meaning, but the naïve verb equivalents (awful & wonderful) don't fit the bill.

Any ideas?

@sumelic makes an excellent clarification point: I'm specifically looking for a word that implies "I would expect them to be awestruck often in the future" whether or not they are presently.

  • 2
    awestruck not awful :) – Joe Dark Sep 13 '15 at 9:04
  • Do you want a word specifically related to "awe" or "wonder," or are those just examples? "Awed" is a word. Also, is the "constant" part very important? (You mention it twice.) Synonyms of "astonished" seem relevant to me, but there are so many that I don't know which one to suggest: amazed, astounded, dazzled,... thesaurus.com/browse/astonished – herisson Sep 13 '15 at 9:04
  • Awestruck is definitely closer, as is awed, but @sumelic has the key point for me (I'll clarify above): the continuing state; I would expect that this person would be awestruck often in the future, whether or not they presently are. – JP. Sep 13 '15 at 9:06
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How about wide-eyed:

= staring, spellbound, gobsmacked (British) (slang), dumbfounded, agog, agape, thunderstruck, goggle-eyed, awe-stricken

It's usually used to describe an instant reaction, but I think it works as a description of character: part impressionable, part naive, part optimistic.

  • This is the closest I've found in my online & offline searches! It's not perfect, as you've mentioned it has strong "instant reaction" connotations, but it's so close :) – JP. Sep 14 '15 at 6:22
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If the person is constantly awestruck by things that others consider unremarkable or mundane, he is said to have

  • a childlike sense of wonder (or wonderment)

http://i.word.com/idictionary/wonderment

This evokes an image of innocence—of being struck with wonder as if seeing the (whatever) for the first time.

Or, you could simply say that (in reference to encountering these awe-inspiring things), he is childlike

(NOT childish!)

  • Thanks! This is exactly the sense I'm looking for, though I'm looking for a single adjective, rather than a descriptive phrase. – JP. Sep 13 '15 at 10:50
  • @Sumelic: Yes, indeed. I'll emend my answer. Thanks. – Brian Hitchcock Sep 13 '15 at 11:03
  • Sadly I feel like "childlike", though descriptive in the way I'm looking for in some contexts, carries too much additional meaning akin to "immature". – JP. Sep 14 '15 at 6:20

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