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

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

Mary Shelley, 18, captivated her friends with a tale of a waking dream. Ashley Strickland, CNN, "Why a volcanic eruption caused a 'year without a summer' in 1816," 17 Sep. 2019 Magician Michael Mage captivated both children and adults with his performance., "Arts in Strongsville’s ‘Day at the Chalet’ remains popular after 20 years," 17 Sep. 2019 Even as his celebrated teammates captivated the NBA with their majestic 3-point shots, Livingston resolutely stuck to his game. Ron Kroichick,, "Former Warriors guard Shaun Livingston announces his retirement from NBA," 13 Sep. 2019 Mnisi’s designs always captivate with color, silhouette, and pattern bringing a new element to the world of fashion. Maiya Carmichael, Essence, "ESSENCE Fashion House NYC: Rich Mnisi Sends Sleek Looks Down The ESSENCE Runway," 7 Sep. 2019 Fall, who captivated fans at Summer League, will participate in training camp in hopes of claiming the final roster spot. Nicole Yang,, "Celtics co-owner Steve Pagliuca excited about makeup of team," 16 Aug. 2019 As David Rooney, the historian and author, has observed, Nkrumah roused the youth with his fiery oratory, slept on their verandas…shared their hardships …captivated them with his charm, enthusiasm and passion. Akwasi Kwarteng Amoako-gyampah, Quartz Africa, "The “tragic error” that led to Kwame Nkrumah becoming one of Africa’s great independence leaders," 7 Aug. 2019 James Holzhauer, who captivated audiences with his lengthy winning streak earlier this year, will return to the beloved game show this fall to compete in the Tournament of Champions. Rachel Desantis,, "Jeopardy!'s James Holzhauer to Return for Tournament of Champions Alongside Player Who Beat Him," 10 July 2019 Maisie Williams, who has captivated audiences as Arya Stark throughout the show's eight-year arc—but particularly this season as the heroic underdog—is marking her new chapter with a new bold blonde look. Lauren Valenti, Vogue, "Maisie Williams Says Goodbye to Game of Thrones by Going Blonde," 20 May 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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Statistics for captivate

Last Updated

5 Oct 2019

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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 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).


to wander slowly or to speak indistinctly

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