enthrall

verb en·thrall \ in-ˈthrȯl , en- \
variants: or enthral

Definition of enthrall

enthralled; enthralling
transitive verb
1 :to hold in or reduce to slavery
2 :to hold spellbound :charm

enthrallment

play \in-ˈthrȯl-mənt, en-\ noun

enthrall was our Word of the Day on 09/02/2017. Hear the podcast!

Examples of enthrall in a Sentence

  1. enthralled by the flickering fire in the hearth, we lost all track of time

  2. for years these master magicians have been enthralling audiences with their astounding illusions

Recent Examples of enthrall from the Web

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.

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.

Origin and Etymology of enthrall

Middle English


ENTHRALL Defined for English Language Learners

enthrall

verb

Definition of enthrall for English Language Learners

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


ENTHRALL Defined for Kids

enthrall

verb en·thrall \ in-ˈthrȯl \

Definition of enthrall for Students

enthralled; enthralling
:to hold the attention of completely
  • The show enthralls audiences.


Seen and Heard

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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

WORD OF THE DAY

serious difficulty or misfortune

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

The Exceptions Quiz III

  • one-green-toy-robot-amidst-many-red-toy-robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Bee Cubed

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

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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