verb cap·ti·vate \ ˈkap-tə-ˌvāt \
Updated on: 24 Feb 2018

Definition of captivate

captivated; captivating
transitive verb
1 archaic : seize, capture
2 : to influence and dominate by some special charm, art, or trait and with an irresistible appeal
  • We were captivated by her beauty.
  • The scenery captivated our attention.


play \ˌkap-tə-ˈvā-shən\ noun


play \ˈkap-tə-ˌvā-tər\ noun

Examples of captivate in a Sentence

  1. The play has been captivating audiences for years.

  2. the clown captivated the toddlers with his balloon tricks

Recent Examples of captivate from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'captivate.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of captivate

Synonym Discussion of captivate

attract, allure, charm, captivate, fascinate, enchant mean to draw another by exerting a powerful influence. attract applies to any degree or kind of ability to exert influence over another.
    • students attracted by the school's locale
allure implies an enticing by what is fair, pleasing, or seductive.
    • an alluring smile
charm implies the power of casting a spell over the person or thing affected and so compelling a response
    • charmed by their hospitality
, but it may, like captivate, suggest no more than evoking delight or admiration.
    • her performances captivated audiences
fascinate suggests a magical influence and tends to stress the ineffectiveness of attempts to resist.
    • a story that continues to fascinate children
enchant is perhaps the strongest of these terms in stressing the appeal of the agent and the degree of delight evoked in the subject.
    • hopelessly enchanted by her beauty

CAPTIVATE Defined for English Language Learners



Definition of captivate for English Language Learners

  • : to attract and hold the attention of (someone) by being interesting, pretty, etc.

CAPTIVATE Defined for Kids


verb cap·ti·vate \ ˈkap-tə-ˌvāt \

Definition of captivate for Students

captivated; captivating
: to fascinate by some special charm
  • The play is captivating audiences.

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