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 captivate (audio) \ noun
captivator \ ˈkap-​tə-​ˌvā-​tər How to pronounce captivate (audio) \ noun

Synonyms for captivate


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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 How does enterprise agility captivate the workforce? Deborah Lovich, Forbes, 27 Apr. 2022 Indeed, whereas its predecessor largely worked overtime in the editing suite to document the dangerous lab-to-street journey of Walter White's crystal meth, Better Call Saul often does so to captivate viewers with more humdrum matters. Jon O'brien, The Week, 18 Apr. 2022 Not every speech will captivate those at home, but DeBose and Kotsur, in their concise, beautifully delivered comments, showed the potential of an unaltered acceptance. Shirley Li, The Atlantic, 28 Mar. 2022 Could there really be another coach waiting in the wings that could captivate like them, or is Coach K the last of the lions? Los Angeles Times, 6 Mar. 2022 The venue — known for being the stomping ground for reggaeton, Latin music’s biggest genre — was about to be graced by Panama’s most popular artist, whose ballads and surprise performances would captivate the 18,000 attendees throughout the night. Katelina Eccleston, Rolling Stone, 10 Apr. 2022 The dynamic heart notes of sage, white pepper, and violet leaf blend with bright hints of ginger, lemon, and bergamot to captivate the senses. The Salt Lake Tribune, 7 Apr. 2022 The idea that mathematically rich and complicated objects could actually captivate a tremendous mass audience. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, 6 Apr. 2022 These interactive ads have been shown to have a 3.5% higher engagement rate and captivate attention for 85 more seconds than traditional streaming advertisements. Michael Benedek, Forbes, 28 Mar. 2022 See More

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

20 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Captivate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for captivate


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.

More from Merriam-Webster on captivate

Nglish: Translation of captivate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of captivate for Arabic Speakers


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