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

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

So if The Legend of Zelda video game can captivate an audience for that amount of time, then surely there's enough substance there to develop and create a film franchise or even a six-episode miniseries that does this title justice, right? Jennifer Konerman, The Hollywood Reporter, "Defend Your Favorite Bad Videogame Movie," 16 Mar. 2018 Author and longtime Shanghai resident Paul French shares this interest in the city’s historical glitter but is even more captivated by its grit. Maura Elizabeth Cunningham, WSJ, "‘City of Devils’ Review: Chicago on the Huangpu," 13 July 2018 Seales went to work at the University of Kentucky in 1991, and when a colleague took him along to the British Library to photograph fragile manuscripts, Seales, captivated by the idea of seeing the unseeable, found the challenge thrilling. Henrik Knudsen, Smithsonian, "Buried by the Ash of Vesuvius, These Scrolls Are Being Read for the First Time in Millennia," 26 June 2018 It is fronted by Liu’s captivating delivery of the smooth song’s bilingual lyrics about love and obsession, and backed by hypnotizing beats and otherworldly synths. Tamar Herman, Billboard, "Lexie Liu Takes a Joyride in Haunting 'Like a Mercedes' Video," 19 June 2018 There’s a beauty and brutality to Russian culture (and Russians) that I am captivated by. The Cut, "The Sober Gym Manager in an Unconventional Relationship," 17 June 2018 Williamson’s captivating album Cosmic Wink is a potent and haunting rumination on love and its aftereffects. Staff, The Christian Science Monitor, "Top Picks: Jess Williamson's 'Cosmic Wink,' 'Black Panther' on DVD and Blu-ray, and more," 1 June 2018 While boomers, who grew up amid post–World War II prosperity, were captivated by the idea of a getaway nook for the family, younger Americans are not as entranced. Chris Taylor, Fortune, "Why Your Summer House Could Be a Shaky Investment," 29 May 2018 On March 1, 2-year-old Parker Curry was caught captivated by Michelle Obama’s portrait at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC. Lisa Gutierrez, kansascity, "Michelle Obama reveals the cover of her upcoming memoir, 'Becoming' | The Kansas City Star," 24 May 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

19 Oct 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

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


a state of commotion or excitement

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