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

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 Cunningham can’t put a finger on it, but there’s something about it all – the pageantry, the history, the competition, the danger, the regality – that captivated him long ago. Nathan Brown, The Indianapolis Star, "Without an Indy 500 in May, longtime fans grapple with emotions: It doesn't feel like May," 22 May 2020 In some mountain towns, people would greet the couple with handmade gifts for George, introducing her to folk art, which captivated her. Deborah Yetter, The Courier-Journal, "Phyllis George, former Kentucky first lady and Miss America, dies at 70," 16 May 2020 Here are the 23 moments from the fifth and sixth episodes that most captivated me: 1. Los Angeles Times, "‘The Last Dance’: The 23 most fascinating takeaways from Episodes 5 and 6," 3 May 2020 Ahead of his album launch, Deacon put together this week's #TBT Mixtape to spotlight the songs and artists that first captivated him growing up. Nick Williams, Billboard, "Listen to Dan Deacon's Ska & Crate Digging-Inspired #TBT Mixtape," 30 Jan. 2020 Her long, intense relationship with the Spanish writer-philosopher Paul B. Preciado (then known as Beatriz) captivated their readers. Nadja Spiegelman, The New York Review of Books, "As Clean as Rage," 8 Apr. 2020 All three realities series were runaway successes, but perhaps none captivated the world as much as Love Is Blind. Kathryn Lindsay,, "Love Is Blind, The Circle & More Netflix Hits Have Been Renewed For Season 2," 24 Mar. 2020 The case captivated the city and stayed on the front page of newspapers for over a month. Nicole Clausing, Sunset Magazine, "These 8 Mysteries of the West Remain Unsolved (and Are Turning Us into Obsessive Armchair Sleuths)," 17 Jan. 2020 And unlike investigation of Richard Nixon, who resigned rather than face the House vote over Watergate, the proceedings against Trump have not fully captivated Americans’ attention as the rarity of impeachment becomes more commonplace. Fortune, "Majority of House Votes to Impeach Trump," 18 Dec. 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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Time Traveler for captivate

Time Traveler

The first known use of captivate was circa 1555

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Statistics for captivate

Last Updated

31 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Captivate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for captivate


How to pronounce captivate (audio)

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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