enthrall

verb
en·​thrall | \ in-ˈthrȯl How to pronounce enthrall (audio) , en- \
variants: or enthral
enthralled; enthralling

Definition of enthrall

transitive verb

1 : to hold spellbound : charm
2 : to hold in or reduce to slavery

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Other Words from enthrall

enthrallment \ in-​ˈthrȯl-​mənt How to pronounce enthrallment (audio) , en-​ \ noun

Did You Know?

In Middle English, enthrallen meant "to hold in thrall." "Thrall" then, as now, meant "bondage" or "slavery"; it comes from an Old Norse word, "thraell," which is probably related to an Old High German word for servant. In the 16th century, the first known figurative use of "enthrall" appeared in the following advice, translated from a Latin text by Thomas Newton: "A man should not . . . enthrall his credit and honour to Harlots." But we rarely use even this sense of mental or moral enslavement anymore. Today the word is often used in its participle form, "enthralled," which sometimes means "temporarily spellbound" ("we listened, enthralled, to the old woman's oral history"), but more often suggests a state of being generally captivated, delighted, or taken by some particular thing.

Examples of enthrall in a Sentence

enthralled by the flickering fire in the hearth, we lost all track of time for years these master magicians have been enthralling audiences with their astounding illusions
Recent Examples on the Web Individually, the stars—Gal Gadot, Mark Ruffalo, and Natalie Portman, among others—will probably continue to enthrall us with their high cheekbones, but they were brought low by their own attempts to be seen as heroes. Jenny Singer, Glamour, "Bad Tippers, Beware: TikTok’s Latest Trend Is Calling Out Celebrity Behavior," 17 Aug. 2020 The top-notch storytelling in this series is primed to enthrall almost anyone, from the most avid nature documentary watcher to the casual science enthusiast. Shaena Montanari, The Arizona Republic, "Why Netflix's new science documentary series 'Connected' is near-perfect pandemic viewing," 1 Aug. 2020 Like the Lego games before it, Minecraft Dungeons makes the dungeon crawler genre engaging in a way that could easily enthrall the young fan who loves Minecraft but doesn't know Diablo from the Pope. Julie Muncy, Wired, "Minecraft Dungeons Makes Dungeon Crawlers Accessible to All," 29 May 2020 In Room 67 of the Prado Museum in Madrid, Francisco Goya’s Saturn enthralls viewers with a scene of abomination. Kate Wong, Scientific American, "Is This Indonesian Cave Painting the Earliest Portrayal of a Mythical Story?," 1 Mar. 2020 In Room 67 of the Prado Museum in Madrid, Francisco Goya’s Saturn enthralls viewers with a scene of abomination. Kate Wong, Scientific American, "Is This Indonesian Cave Painting the Earliest Portrayal of a Mythical Story?," 1 Mar. 2020 In Room 67 of the Prado Museum in Madrid, Francisco Goya’s Saturn enthralls viewers with a scene of abomination. Kate Wong, Scientific American, "Is This Indonesian Cave Painting the Earliest Portrayal of a Mythical Story?," 1 Mar. 2020 In Room 67 of the Prado Museum in Madrid, Francisco Goya’s Saturn enthralls viewers with a scene of abomination. Kate Wong, Scientific American, "Is This Indonesian Cave Painting the Earliest Portrayal of a Mythical Story?," 1 Mar. 2020 In Room 67 of the Prado Museum in Madrid, Francisco Goya’s Saturn enthralls viewers with a scene of abomination. Kate Wong, Scientific American, "Is This Indonesian Cave Painting the Earliest Portrayal of a Mythical Story?," 1 Mar. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'enthrall.' 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 enthrall

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for enthrall

Middle English

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Time Traveler for enthrall

Time Traveler

The first known use of enthrall was in the 15th century

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Last Updated

27 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Enthrall.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/enthrall. Accessed 1 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for enthrall

enthrall

verb
How to pronounce enthrall (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of enthrall

: to hold the attention of (someone) by being very exciting, interesting, or beautiful

enthrall

verb
en·​thrall | \ in-ˈthrȯl How to pronounce enthrall (audio) \
enthralled; enthralling

Kids Definition of enthrall

: to hold the attention of completely The show enthralls audiences.

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