In Greek, μεράκι means:
- pride in one’s work (in the phrase με μεράκι “with merak”)
A μερακλής on the other hand is a bon vivant, a connoisseur, someone who knows how to have a good time and who appreciates the finer things in life.
And the verb μερακλώνομαι is to be in a euphoric mood, usually associated with drinking.
I’ll now defer to the definitions of the Triantafyllidis dictionary:
- Intense desire: I have a ~ to go to Paris. If a child has no ~ for studying, don’t force him.
- Intense love and care for something, especially an activity: Old time craftspeople worked with ~, not robotically like modern builders.
- (plural) Intense pleasant sensation that comes from entertainment (cf. kefi): Tonight he drank a bit more and came to ~.
- Someone characterised by meraki, intense love or care for something. A ~ cook/barber/tailor/cabinetmaker. He is a ~ about his work; he doesn’t do anything shoddily. Retsina and meze fit for ~’s.
- To be overcome by a very intense pleasant feeling: He was ~-ed by the song and started dancing.
- To cause meraki in someone. The drink ~-ed him and he started singing.
- (passive) To have an intense desire for something: He ~-ed for a sweet/for a trip.
BTW, I’m OP, and I am going to formulate a grand unified theory of how the meanings grew when the answers come in.