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

The disappearance of Jennifer Farber Dulos has captivated the country., "Timeline: The disappearance of Jennifer Farber Dulos and the sprawling investigation that has followed," 4 June 2019 They were captivated by the team’s tight end coach, who was frequently teased for being just 23 years old. Andrew Beaton, WSJ, "The Entry-Level Coaching Job That Catapulted 33-Year-Old Sean McVay to Stardom," 31 Jan. 2019 Now, with a minimal amount of hardware and investment, virtually anyone can captivate millions of listeners from across the globe. Popular Mechanics, "Start Your Own Podcast With This Expert Training Bundle," 11 Oct. 2018 In the book, Goodman candidly described how she was easily captivated by the rock ’n’ roll icon. Stephanie Nolasco, Fox News, "Elvis Presley's girlfriend recalls passionate love affair, singer's painful pill addiction, book claims," 28 Aug. 2018 He was captivated by the idea of community composting, which involves locals in the process of turning orange rinds and coffee grounds and flower stems into enriched soil, while reducing landfill waste and greenhouse gases. Annie Correal, New York Times, "What Drove a Man to Set Himself on Fire in Brooklyn?," 28 May 2018 Jenkins also is looking forward to taking Japanese language classes and learning to practice Kendo, a martial art involving bamboo swords, because he's always been captivated by Japanese culture. Isabella Gomez And Justin Lear, CNN, "He slept in homeless shelters as a kid. Now he's going to Harvard on a full ride," 24 May 2018 Though this serene setting from Mark Word Design in west Texas features a swimming pool, we're most captivated by the gorgeous lily pad pond. Elle Decor Staff, ELLE Decor, "9 One-Of-A-Kind Backyards," 15 Apr. 2014 Since then, the brand has expanded their home line to captivating crystal trays for your vanity or nightstand, photo frames, jewelry stands, decorative geodes, and more. Elizabeth Gulino, House Beautiful, "Celeb Jeweler Kendra Scott's New Home Line Is Inspired by Crystals," 21 Feb. 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

15 Jun 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).


showing courage and determination

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