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For people like me, non-native English speakers, it's really hard to figure out the differences in their meaning between words "psyched" and "thrilled". Are they interchangeable?

Is the meaning actually different in the following three sentences?

The children were thrilled to go to the circus.

The children were psyched to go to the circus.

The children were psyched about going to the circus.

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  • 4
    Thrilled is relaxed-happy. Psyched is nervous-happy.
    – Hot Licks
    May 9 '16 at 11:52
  • @HotLicks According to your reply would it sound correct if I said "I'm psyched for my speech in front of a lot of people." (nervous and happy), and "I'm thrilled my candidate won the election" (relaxed and happy)? May 9 '16 at 12:19
  • That's about it. Both terms have a broad range, of course, so you're not going to get much more precise.
    – Hot Licks
    May 9 '16 at 12:43
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    @AlexanderShmatko Rather than a difference in meaning, I would focus on the difference in tone or formality. 'psyched' as an adjective is at least somewhat colloquial. I wouldn't use it in formal writing, except as a joke. 'thrilled' is neutral: you can use it both in formal writing and in casual conversation. I don't think that there is a significant difference in meaning, at least not a large or clear one.
    – user174351
    May 9 '16 at 13:41
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In normal usage, I think that the adjectives 'thrilled' and 'psyched' are often interchangeable: they describe someone in a state or feeling of excitement. (See here for 'psyched' and here for 'thrilled'.)

One difference in meaning is that 'psyched' implies anticipation and is forward looking (you're often "psyched for something" that will happen later) while 'thrilled' doesn't have to be forward looking (you're often "thrilled with something" that's already happening). That said, you can use 'thrilled' of the future. E.g., "I'm thrilled to be seeing the new movie tomorrow" or, as in your example, "The children are thrilled to go to the circus tomorrow".

The main difference between the two seems to me to be when you would use them. 'psyched' is a colloquial word. I wouldn't use it normally in formal writing. 'thrilled' on the other hand is neutral. You can use it in conversation or writing of all kinds.

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  • What is "a somewhat word"?
    – TrevorD
    May 9 '16 at 15:19
  • Your answer doesn't include any links or references. You might like to add the links (and maybe some of the content) from your comments into your answer.
    – TrevorD
    May 9 '16 at 15:21
  • @TrevorD The "somewhat word" was a mistake. I had written "somewhat colloquial" and decided to remove "somewhat". Instead I removed "colloquial". I fixed it now.
    – user174351
    May 9 '16 at 15:22
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    @DarrelHoffman: true. I'd say that "thrilling someone" means "to make them thrilled", whereas "psyching someone" often means "to make someone psyched out", which is a slightly different colloquialism. May 9 '16 at 20:08
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    @DarrelHoffman (and Steve): those examples seem to be about psyche and thrill the verbs. Also, I think your example with psyche is slightly off: you would need to say "threatening gestures to psyche out his opponent". (And then that could become adjectival as a participle, once the opponent was psyched out.) The question was about a pretty distinct use of psyched as an adjective I thought.
    – user174351
    May 9 '16 at 23:20
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Psych

to make (yourself or another person) mentally ready to perform or compete or mentally prepare (someone) for a testing task or occasion.

Now, when a task or occasion is demanding, we tend to be nervous, and due to this nervousness, psych is often used in an anxious or nervous sense.

Thrill

to cause (someone) to feel very excited or happy

to feel very excited or happy about something

I think the difference is pretty obvious. Psyched doesn't mean you're thrilled and thrilled doesn't mean you're psyched.

"The children are psyched" means the children are prepared to do something. "The children are thrilled " means the children are excited or happy about something.

Examples : He is psyched for the exam,not thrilled. He is thrilled about the relationship, not psyched.

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  • @Telemachus I think "excite emotionally" is just a twisted form of "to make psychologically uneasy." Different sites define the word in different ways. I choose to follow two dictionaries, if not one, I wander elsewhere only if there is a word not provided in these dictionaries. What do you say? :)
    – vickyace
    May 9 '16 at 11:57
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    @vickyace I'm sorry, but I'm pretty sure that you're wrong. The problem is that you're focused on definitions of the verb. As an adjective in English, 'psyched' absolutely conveys excitement. See 1.1 here: oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/psych. (Sorry: I deleted my earlier comment while looking at more examples.)
    – user174351
    May 9 '16 at 13:40
  • @Telemachus Oh I get it now. And you were right, I was wrong here. So, I guess I should say "psych" should be used for more serious occasions and tasks and "thrill" for something casual. How does this look?
    – vickyace
    May 9 '16 at 13:57
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    @vickyace I think you've said it backwards: 'psyched' is normally used in informal contexts and writing, and 'thrilled' is neutral. Or do you mean that they differ based on their objects? If so, I don't think that's true. You can be 'psyched' and 'thrilled' about the same things. The words differ, primarily, in when you would use them not what they mean or their objects.
    – user174351
    May 9 '16 at 14:25

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