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

Keep scrolling for more

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]

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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 mainstage concert covered four corners of Caribbean music with Christopher Martin’s Lovers Rock, the Dancehall of Shenseea, Bunji Garlin and Fay-Ann Lyons getting down for their Soca crowns and Capleton captivating the crowd with Culture. Dasun Imanuel, Essence, "Grace Jerk Festival Brings Fete, Fine Fare and Flair to its Annual Family Affair," 4 Sep. 2019 The clip features captivating choreography by three-time World Hip Hop Dance Championship winner Parris Goebel. Kat Bein, Billboard, "Troyboi Unveils Seductive Dance Video For 'Do You?,' Shares 2019 Tour Dates: Watch," 27 Aug. 2019 Spectacular sandcastles highlighted Saturday down in Galveston, as dozens of professional sand sculptors captivated audiences at the 2019 AIA Houston Sandcastle Competition. Jordan Ray, Houston Chronicle, "James Harden party, Galveston sandcastle showdown highlight Houston's weekend scenes," 26 Aug. 2019 From Gothic cathedrals to unique signage created for present-day pilgrim hostels, see why the path has captivated walkers since the Middle Ages. Linda Mcintosh, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Seacrest Foundation recognizes supporters," 26 Aug. 2019 Jay-Z commands attention and everyone looks on, ghostly captivated. Jason Parham, WIRED, "Depth of Field: Where Is Jay-Z Taking the NFL?," 15 Aug. 2019 Few things have a strange way of both captivating my interest and totally turning me off like boxing, a sport of incredible skill filled with such impressive people, fascinating stories and sometimes truly heartbreaking results. Mike Anthony,, "Mike Anthony: Boxing deaths reminder of courage and insanity fighters carry into ring," 1 Aug. 2019 From her early days as a Fly Girl on In Living Color to her breakout role in the biopic Selena to her turn as a pop star who can deliver a dance hit like no other, Jen has been captivating the entertainment industry for over two decades. Mekita Rivas,, "All Of Jennifer Lopez's Most Iconic Fashion Moments," 25 July 2019 The alligator reportedly on the loose in Humboldt Park lagoon has triggered the creation of T-shirts, drink specials and tote bags as entrepreneurial Chicagoans rush to cash in on the reptile that is captivating the city. Lauren Zumbach,, "Got gator? Businesses try to cash in on viral search for the Humboldt Park gator," 15 July 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.

See More

First Known Use of captivate

circa 1555, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for captivate

see captive entry 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about captivate

Statistics for captivate

Last Updated

7 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for captivate

The first known use of captivate was circa 1555

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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.

Keep scrolling for more

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).


one from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!