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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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 Why does a sketch featuring weird-comedy icon Tim Heidecker as a ponytailed blowhard who sabotages a party game with his obscure jazz knowledge continue to captivate us? Peter Rubin, Wired, "I Think You Should Leave," 23 Apr. 2021 In the last few months, things that used to captivate her no longer did. Dana Spiotta, Vogue, "Old House, New Life: An Excerpt from Dana Spiotta’s Forthcoming Novel, Wayward," 20 Apr. 2021 Many of those close to her point to her past, as well as the firestorm of right-wing media that appeared to captivate her. John Caniglia, cleveland, "How an Ohio bartender’s patriotism was warped by social media and a devotion to Trump, ending in conspiracy charges from the Capitol riots," 11 Apr. 2021 Tray and platform feeders captivate a unique assortment of seed-eating birds but offer zero protection against inclement weather. Daria Smith, Southern Living, "Bird Feeders for Attracting the Most Beautiful Feathered Friends To Your Yard," 24 Mar. 2021 Outside of Gonzaga, there's no insight into which mid-major team will make a run at the Final Four and captivate a national audience, such as Loyola-Chicago did in 2018. Paul Myerberg, USA TODAY, "Expect the unexpected as most unpredictable NCAA Tournament opens against backdrop of pandemic," 14 Mar. 2021 That is a testament to the film’s legacy and its ability to continue to captivate moviegoers. Travis Bean, Forbes, "The Denzel Washington Classic ‘Training Day’ Is Now The Most-Watched Movie On Netflix," 9 Mar. 2021 With the ability to command any stage and robbed of his opportunity to captivate a global audience. Chloe Melas, CNN, "Daniel Kaluuya and more react to their Oscar nominations," 15 Mar. 2021 With the ability to command any stage and robbed of his opportunity to captivate a global audience. Marcus Jones,, "Stars react to their 2021 Oscar nominations: 'What a dream come true'," 15 Mar. 2021

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

26 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Captivate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 May. 2021.

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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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