cap·​ti·​vate | \ˈkap-tə-ˌvāt \
captivated; captivating

Definition of captivate 

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.

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Other Words from captivate

captivation \ˌkap-​tə-​ˈvā-​shən \ noun
captivator \ˈkap-​tə-​ˌvā-​tər \ noun

Synonyms for captivate


allure, beguile, bewitch, charm, enchant, fascinate, kill, magnetize, wile, witch [archaic]

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Choose the Right Synonym for 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

Examples of captivate in a Sentence

The play has been captivating audiences for years. the clown captivated the toddlers with his balloon tricks

Recent Examples on the Web

The sights, the sounds, and even the smells were captivating. Mark Ellwood, Condé Nast Traveler, "11 People on Why It's Never Too Late to Start Traveling," 12 Sep. 2018 The story of how a former Georgia police officer rigged the McDonald’s Monopoly Game for over a decade is captivating the Internet. Michael Bartiromo, Fox News, "McScam: Report details how McDonald's Monopoly game was fixed by ex-cop," 31 July 2018 As dusk creeps into the Sky Lobby at the InterContinental Downtown , those distant cars are captivating to behold and best enjoyed with a glass of wine. Christopher Muther,, "A new high in Los Angeles at the InterContinental," 27 June 2018 But in this country, the mileage rating of 50 mpg is captivating to long-distance commuters. Mark Maynard,, "2018 Toyota Prius Prime: Nothing fancy, just 640 miles on a tank," 8 June 2018 Making a Murderer’s first season captivated audiences The initial 10-episode run focused largely on Avery. German Lopez, Vox, "The first season was a huge hit, and quite a bit has happened since it premiered.," 18 Oct. 2018 And then there’s Rose, who took her London Fashion Week show this season to a cul-de-sac in St Leonard Square, where street-cast models captivated homeowners who watched from their windows. Steff Yotka, Vogue, "A Runway That Reflects Our World: How 4 Brands Are Bringing Fashion to Life," 11 Oct. 2018 Blue Bloods has kept audiences captivated year after year since the CBS drama's premiere in 2010. Kelly O'sullivan, Country Living, "'Blue Bloods' Star Will Estes Opens Up About Amy Carlson's 'Shocking' Exit," 6 Oct. 2018 Month Thanks in large part to Australia’s captivating native botanicals, the local gin scene is stealthily becoming one of the world’s most exciting drinks movements, and Brogan’s Way, in semi-industrial Richmond, is the ideal place to find out why. Dan F. Stapleton, Condé Nast Traveler, "What to Do in Melbourne in October 2018," 26 Sep. 2018

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.

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First Known Use of captivate

circa 1555, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for captivate

see captive entry 1

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Statistics for captivate

Last Updated

14 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for captivate

The first known use of captivate was circa 1555

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More Definitions for captivate



English Language Learners Definition of captivate

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


cap·​ti·​vate | \ˈkap-tə-ˌvāt \
captivated; captivating

Kids Definition of captivate

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

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Comments on captivate

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