intrigue

noun
in·​trigue | \ ˈin-ˌtrēg, in-ˈtrēg\

Definition of intrigue

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : the practice of engaging in secret schemes
b : a secret scheme : machination
2 : a clandestine love affair

intrigue

verb
in·​trigue | \ in-ˈtrēg \
intrigued; intriguing

Definition of intrigue (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to arouse the interest, desire, or curiosity of intrigued by the tale
2 : cheat, trick
3 : to get, make, or accomplish by secret scheming intrigued myself into the club
4 obsolete : entangle

intransitive verb

: to carry on an intrigue (see intrigue entry 1) especially : plot, scheme

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Other Words from intrigue

Verb

intriguer noun

Choose the Right Synonym for intrigue

Noun

plot, intrigue, machination, conspiracy, cabal mean a plan secretly devised to accomplish an evil or treacherous end. plot implies careful foresight in planning a complex scheme. an assassination plot intrigue suggests secret underhanded maneuvering in an atmosphere of duplicity. backstairs intrigue machination implies a contriving of annoyances, injuries, or evils by indirect means. the machinations of a party boss conspiracy implies a secret agreement among several people usually involving treason or great treachery. a conspiracy to fix prices cabal typically applies to political intrigue involving persons of some eminence. a cabal among powerful senators

Examples of intrigue in a Sentence

Noun

Rolston's work channels the vampish intrigue of vintage Hollywood with a sense of irony and wit that makes the work truly modern. — Stephanie Sung, Picture, September/October 2008 In this, as in any other enterprise where there is the promise of money, intrigues and lies and hoodwinking and bullying abound. — Alice Munro, "Hard-Luck Stories," in In the Stacks2002 The story began to take on a warm, attractive glow as a Highland romantic epic of heroism and villainy, of intrigue and bravery, complete with comely maidens such as Flora MacDonald and handsome heroes such as Bonnie Prince Charlie himself. — Arthur Herman, How the Scots Invented the Modern World, 2001 a novel of intrigue and romance an administration characterized by intrigue and corruption

Verb

One day during math study period, after I'd finished my regular assignment, I took out a fresh sheet of paper and tried to solve a problem that had intrigued me: whether the first player in a game of ticktacktoe can always win, given the right strategy. — Martin Gardner, Scientific American, August 1998 Bundy was also a man whose thinking in foreign affairs was extremely conventional … but who in the area of domestic policy was curiously more open-minded and unconventional, so that throughout the Kennedy years, friends would be intrigued by the difference in Bundy. — David Halberstam, Harper's, July 1969 evidence that the leading manufacturers had intrigued to keep prices artificially high the mystery story intrigued me so that I read it in one sitting
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

With so much intrigue swirling, there was a question of whether Sweetener would be all about the Grandson relationship, offering more details about the inner lives of Grande and Davidson. Alex Abad-santos, Vox, "Ariana Grande’s greatest asset isn’t her amazing voice. It’s her resilience.," 11 Nov. 2018 Deals with intrigue at lower risk Steve Cishek (Cubs), 2 years, $13 million. Jr Radcliffe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Is Lorenzo Cain the best off-season signing in Major League Baseball so far?," 14 June 2018 Their top four picks hail from California and Arizona, with some intrigue. Mark Gonzales, chicagotribune.com, "Cubs' draft features a West Coast lean," 5 June 2018 For all the Capitals-Penguins animosity, last year was the only postseason in which Braden Holtby and Marc-Andre Fleury squared off head-to-head, but that doesn’t mean the goalie matchup in this Stanley Cup Final is any less fraught with intrigue. The Si Staff, SI.com, "Stanley Cup Final Preview: Top Storylines to Watch for in the Final," 25 May 2018 The Hellfire Club is rife with Beltway intrigue and backroom deals, but Tapper's leading lady is what kept us turning pages. Elisabeth Egan, Glamour, "CNN's Jake Tapper Wrote Your New Favorite Fictional Heroine," 23 May 2018 And in a game with local intrigue, the New York Giants and former Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman will be in Charlotte for a Week 5 matchup at Bank of America Stadium on Oct. 7, northjersey.com reported. Jourdan Rodrigue And Joseph Person, charlotteobserver, "Panthers' schedule includes a Monday night game vs. an NFC South rival | Charlotte Observer," 19 Apr. 2018 The New Orleans Saints open their offseason workout program with some intrigue. Larry Holder, NOLA.com, "Monday's 'Dunc & Holder:' Pelicans take Game 1 in Portland; Saints WR chatter," 16 Apr. 2018 Meet Cort Dennison: Oregon Ducks outside linebackers coach EUGENE -- Cort Dennison's metamorphosis from ex-Washington Huskies standout to new Oregon Ducks assistant coach doesn't come with the intrigue of a spy thriller. Ron Richmond For The Oregonian/oregonlive, OregonLive.com, "His Dawg days behind him, assistant coach Cort Dennison enjoying 'us mentality' with Oregon Ducks," 12 Apr. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Alex Wong/Getty Images For months now, close watchers of the Mueller investigation have been intrigued by a mysterious court appeal involving a challenge to a grand jury action that appears to be tied to the probe. Andrew Prokop, Vox, "The mysterious grand jury appeal that may be tied to the Mueller investigation, explained," 19 Dec. 2018 Carroll says teachers at other virtual charter networks have been reaching out to her, intrigued by her and her colleagues’ union work. Rachel M. Cohen, The Atlantic, "The Teachers’ Movement Goes Virtual," 11 Apr. 2018 Rightly intrigued, the astronomical community pointed a great deal of hardware toward the receding blip. Rob Reid, Ars Technica, "Nailing down the nature of ‘Oumuamua—it’s probably a comet, but…," 29 Nov. 2018 The foragers had a generous food supply, which intrigued the farmers. Mark Barna, Discover Magazine, "When Farmers and Foragers First Met," 24 Oct. 2018 Even when there’s symmetry, what’s intriguing are the things that are slightly off. Hillary Brown, House Beautiful, "This New Home Feels Nostalgic In The Best Way," 30 Aug. 2018 While the results that made Wells so intriguing up to this point haven't been there, all indications this summer are that not much has changed about the way Wells is pitching. Jon Meoli, baltimoresun.com, "One for the future: Evaluating Orioles prospect Alex Wells," 12 July 2018 This is all good fun, and adds yet another layer to what is an intriguing quarterfinal showdown at the World Cup. Jim Reineking, USA TODAY, "Zlatan Ibrahimovic, David Beckham placed bet on England-Sweden game at World Cup," 6 July 2018 The Pacers need shooting so Smart would be a tough puzzle piece to fit but an intriguing one nonetheless. J. Michael, Indianapolis Star, "Which free agents are available to the Pacers," 25 June 2018

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

Noun

1609, in the meaning defined at sense 1b

Verb

1612, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 2

History and Etymology for intrigue

Noun and Verb

French intricate affair, from Italian intrigo, from intrigare to entangle, from Latin intricare — see intricate

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Statistics for intrigue

Last Updated

11 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for intrigue

The first known use of intrigue was in 1609

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More Definitions for intrigue

intrigue

noun

English Language Learners Definition of intrigue

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: the activity of making secret plans

: a secret plan

intrigue

verb

English Language Learners Definition of intrigue (Entry 2 of 2)

: to make (someone) want to know more about something : to cause (someone) to become interested

: to make secret plans

intrigue

verb
in·​trigue | \ in-ˈtrēg \
intrigued; intriguing

Kids Definition of intrigue

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to arouse the interest or curiosity of The mystery intrigues me.
2 : plot entry 2 sense 1, scheme His enemies intrigued against him.

intrigue

noun
in·​trigue | \ ˈin-ˌtrēg, in-ˈtrēg\

Kids Definition of intrigue (Entry 2 of 2)

: a secret and complex plot

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More from Merriam-Webster on intrigue

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with intrigue

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for intrigue

Spanish Central: Translation of intrigue

Nglish: Translation of intrigue for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of intrigue for Arabic Speakers

Comments on intrigue

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