fas·​ci·​nate | \ˈfa-sə-ˌnāt \
fascinated; fascinating\ˈfas-​ˌnā-​tiŋ, ˈfa-​sə-​ˌnā-​ \

Definition of fascinate 

transitive verb

1 obsolete : bewitch

2a : to transfix (see transfix sense 1) and hold spellbound by an irresistible power believed that the serpent could fascinate its prey

b : to command the interest of : allure was fascinated by carnivals The kids were fascinated with their new toy.

intransitive verb

: to be irresistibly attractive the novel's flamboyant cover fascinates

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Synonyms for fascinate


allure, beguile, bewitch, captivate, charm, enchant, kill, magnetize, wile, witch [archaic]

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Choose the Right Synonym for fascinate

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 fascinate in a Sentence

a question that fascinates both biologists and anthropologists Her paintings never fail to fascinate.

Recent Examples on the Web

Throughout Martin’s work, whatever the genre or form, he’s been fascinated by the extent to which good people can behave abominably and bad people can have some redeeming value. Noel Murray, The Verge, "Before Game of Thrones and Nightflyers, George R.R. Martin’s work inspired a great Outer Limits episode," 30 Nov. 2018 First, Peter Sellers, who was fascinated with Weegee, borrowed his high-pitched voice for the character of Dr. Strangelove. Sarah Boxer, New York Times, "Weegee the Famous: The Master of Down-and-Dirty Street Photography," 1 June 2018 Founded in the early 1970s by Sherwin I. Seligsohn, who was fascinated with digital communications, Interdigital has put about $1 billion into researching wireless technology since 2000. Bob Fernandez, Philly.com, "Here's the Philly-area wireless company you never heard of but use everyday," 26 Mar. 2018 The blog is run by a group of food-safety experts who are fascinated by outbreaks, infestations and, yes, vomit. Erin Blakemore, Washington Post, "The Barf Blog sounds disgusting, but it may help you avoid unsafe food," 5 Mar. 2018 Unquestionably one of the most influential games of the past decade, From Software’s brutal classic has lost none of its powers to frustrate and fascinate since its 2011 release. Sam Byford, The Verge, "With Diablo III and Dark Souls for Switch, you never have to leave the dungeon," 2 Nov. 2018 But long before the advent of the modern technologies of flow sensors and high-speed video, there were those who were fascinated by the variety and richness of complex flow patterns. Lee Phillips, Ars Technica, "Turbulence, the oldest unsolved problem in physics," 10 Oct. 2018 There is no grime, but also no mystery, nothing to fascinate nor inspire. Alexander Nazaryan, Newsweek, "New York's Newest Subway Station: a Gateway to Dubai-on-the-Hudson," 15 Sep. 2015 He was fascinated by photography, such as the early street photography by Henri Cartier-Bresson. Christina Tkacik, baltimoresun.com, "Glenn McNatt, Baltimore Sun editorial writer and arts columnist, dies," 3 July 2018

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

1598, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for fascinate

Latin fascinatus, past participle of fascinare, from fascinum evil spell

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Statistics for fascinate

Last Updated

7 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for fascinate

The first known use of fascinate was in 1598

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More Definitions for fascinate



English Language Learners Definition of fascinate

: to cause (someone) to be very interested in something or someone


fas·​ci·​nate | \ˈfa-sə-ˌnāt \
fascinated; fascinating

Kids Definition of fascinate

1 : to seize and hold the attention of

2 : to attract greatly

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Comments on fascinate

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


to move with a clumsy heavy tread

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