You know that feeling when you get goosebumps from listening to a really powerful piece of music? That's called frisson, and there's a whole Wikipedia article on the phenomenon. The word was borrowed into English in 1777 by British politician Horace Walpole, who used it with more of a general "emotional thrill" sense. He took it from the French word frisson, which could mean "fever" or "shiver" and was in turn borrowed in the twelfth century from the Latin verb frigere, meaning "to be cold" (this was also the source of frigid). Finally, that's thought to derive from the Proto-Italic and Proto-Indo-European reconstructions srigos and srig, both meaning "cold". Because of the new definition emerging, usage of the word frisson started dramatically increasing during the late 1900s and peaked in 2014.
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Hello! I'm Adam Aleksic. This year, I graduated from Harvard University with a degree in Government and Linguistics. There, I co-founded the Harvard Undergraduate Linguistics Society and wrote a thesis on Serbo-Croatian language policy, magna cum laude. In addition to etymology, I also really enjoy trivia, politics, vexillology, geography, board games, conlanging, art history, and law.