cap·​ti·​vate | \ ˈkap-tə-ˌvāt How to pronounce captivate (audio) \
captivated; captivating

Definition of captivate

transitive verb

1 : 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.
2 archaic : seize, capture

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Other Words from captivate

captivation \ ˌkap-​tə-​ˈvā-​shən How to pronounce captivation (audio) \ noun
captivator \ ˈkap-​tə-​ˌvā-​tər How to pronounce captivator (audio) \ noun

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 In terms of popularity, the same can be said for Rooney, who has captivated an audience that includes both cool high-school English teachers and Taylor Swift. Sophie Kemp, Vogue, "A Nimble, Disorienting Conversation: Sally Rooney and Ben Lerner Talk The Topeka School," 4 Oct. 2019 Thanks to the breadth of creativity in the Your Shot photo community, I was captivated by both of these images this week. National Geographic, "Your best photos of the week, March 15, 2019," 15 Mar. 2019 As someone that doesn’t care much for Joplin’s music (or persona), Kuerzi’s performance held me captivated in a way that the entire evening failed to accomplish. Jim Rutter,, "Broadway Theatre's 'Beehive': A lazy, so-so celebration of women, song and teased hair," 25 Feb. 2018 From the moment visitors arrive in the vibrant capital city of Bangkok, that magic takes hold and they are immediately captivated by all the city has to offer. Danielle Pointdujour, Essence, "Black Travel Vibes: Let The Magic Of Bangkok Fill You With Joy," 18 Dec. 2019 Since the Cassini first circled Saturn’s icy moon Enceladus, scientists have been captivated by its many mysteries. Jennifer Leman, Popular Mechanics, "How Saturn Cracked Open Enceladus's Icy Surface," 10 Dec. 2019 Whether broader audiences will be equally captivated by the subject matter -- to the tune of actually buying tickets -- could be another matter. Brian Lowry, CNN, "'Bombshell' spotlights the women who ended Roger Ailes' reign," 9 Dec. 2019 Tiffany, which has more than 300 stores worldwide and roughly $4.4 billion in annual revenue, has experimented with how to become more relevant to younger audiences that may not be as captivated by those iconic tiny blue boxes. Rachel Siegel, Washington Post, "Tiffany looks to reclaim its luster in $16.2 billion deal with LVMH," 25 Nov. 2019 As her sister Rosie tries to track her down, you'll be captivated, and possibly terrified to swipe right. Lindsay Tigar, CNN Underscored, "These Amazon best-selling books are the ultimate beach reads," 25 July 2019

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 2

History and Etymology for captivate

see captive entry 1

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Time Traveler for captivate

Time Traveler

The first known use of captivate was circa 1555

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Statistics for captivate

Last Updated

12 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Captivate.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 21 January 2020.

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More Definitions for captivate


How to pronounce captivate (audio)

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 How to pronounce captivate (audio) \
captivated; captivating

Kids Definition of captivate

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

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Comments on captivate

What made you want to look up captivate? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


good-natured easy friendliness

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