fas·​ci·​nate ˈfa-sə-ˌnāt How to pronounce fascinate (audio)
fascinated; fascinating ˈfas-ˌnā-tiŋ How to pronounce fascinate (audio)

transitive verb

: to command the interest of : allure
was fascinated by carnivals
The kids were fascinated with their new toy.
: to transfix (see transfix sense 1) and hold spellbound by an irresistible power
believed that the serpent could fascinate its prey
obsolete : bewitch

intransitive verb

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

Example Sentences

a question that fascinates both biologists and anthropologists Her paintings never fail to fascinate.
Recent Examples on the Web Jaramillo has continually explored how to capture the parts of mythology and history that most fascinate her. Eva Recinos, Los Angeles Times, 18 May 2023 The transit announcement project took place in April as part of autism awareness month at Metro and transit systems in Atlanta, New York, New Jersey and the San Francisco area, connecting children with complex developmental conditions to trains that fascinate many kids. Justin George, Washington Post, 29 Apr. 2023 You’ve always been fascinated by singing about love. Billboard Japan, Billboard, 18 Apr. 2023 There's one specific moment in the new trailer for Barbie that has Chrissy Teigen utterly fascinated. Brandon Livesay, Peoplemag, 6 Apr. 2023 She was fascinated by how the workers, using only their hands, caught the eels and accurately judged their weight. Lam Yik Fei Tiffany May, New York Times, 15 Feb. 2023 Corridors built of metaphorical mirrors, real and fake doubles, reflections of reflections—all those devices which might fascinate or frustrate a reader, though Rosalie had felt neither fascination nor frustration. Yiyun Li, The New Yorker, 16 Jan. 2023 The condos’ power to fascinate seems to emanate from their jarring juxtapositions. Jenna Russell, BostonGlobe.com, 27 Oct. 2022 Tales of the ostensibly unexplainable — sudden, chilling bursts of cold, levitating tables, blinding silhouettes — continue to fascinate and haunt humans in the 21st century. Luke Taylor, Discover Magazine, 11 Oct. 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'fascinate.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

1591, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1b

Time Traveler
The first known use of fascinate was in 1591

Dictionary Entries Near fascinate

Cite this Entry

“Fascinate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fascinate. Accessed 30 May. 2023.

Kids Definition


fas·​ci·​nate ˈfas-ᵊn-ˌāt How to pronounce fascinate (audio)
fascinated; fascinating
: to grip the attention of especially so as to take away the power to move, act, or think for oneself
the belief that serpents can fascinate their prey
: to cause (someone) to be very interested in something or someone

More from Merriam-Webster on fascinate

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