in·​trigue | \ ˈin-ˌtrēg How to pronounce intrigue (audio) , 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


in·​trigue | \ in-ˈtrēg How to pronounce intrigue (audio) \
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

Other Words from intrigue


intriguer noun

Choose the Right Synonym for intrigue


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 See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun For that reason, the question of who appears alongside the monarch is laden with, well, palace intrigue. Mark Landler, New York Times, 6 May 2022 But a great detective movie mixes everything a good heist movie has with a whole lot more intrigue. Men's Health, 29 Mar. 2022 The case is an offshoot of a bigger probe filled with intrigue. Jason Meisner,, 7 Feb. 2022 Bogdanovich's personal life was filled with as much intrigue as his movies. Patrick Ryan, USA TODAY, 6 Jan. 2022 The train is also a return to the tracks of the company that operated the original Orient Express, the one associated with international intrigue and Agatha Christie on its route from Paris to Istanbul starting in 1883. Laurie Werner, Forbes, 21 Dec. 2021 Mary, Queen of Scots, led a colorful life filled with political intrigue and would have valued a means of securing her private communications. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, 10 Dec. 2021 Playing along with the intrigue is optional, Disney officials said, but decisions made can affect the second-day outing to Batuu. Dewayne Bevil,, 17 Nov. 2021 Both clubs are in the midst of quarterback competitions, supplying the game with more intrigue than a typical preseason contest. Brett Martel, ajc, 24 Aug. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb What has continued to intrigue you about exploring that process? Dan Snierson,, 11 May 2022 If the bottle itself doesn’t intrigue you, what’s hidden inside certainly should. Grooming Playbook, The Salt Lake Tribune, 10 May 2022 Skincare and makeup prep intrigue me more, but coming to a consensus about their worthiness is even harder, given that no one’s skin reacts the same to each product. ELLE, 18 Apr. 2022 And Rosemary’s point is also to intrigue and entice Pat. Wilson Chapman, Variety, 15 Apr. 2022 But the Heat crafted a contract that could intrigue for years on the trade market. Ira Winderman,, 16 Dec. 2021 Jumps like that will certainly intrigue other independent acts looking to jumpstart their career with help from TikTok’s promotional muscle. Elias Leight, Rolling Stone, 9 Mar. 2022 From the way our bodies work to the way that light moves through space, there’s a lot that can surprise and intrigue us. Joshua Hawkins, BGR, 20 Feb. 2022 Mikhail and Ivan are the twin threads, the golden boys, running through the story, never colliding, never discordant, but different enough to intrigue. Brian T. Allen, National Review, 24 Feb. 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of intrigue


1609, in the meaning defined at sense 1b


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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Time Traveler for intrigue

Time Traveler

The first known use of intrigue was in 1609

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Last Updated

23 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Intrigue.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for intrigue


in·​trigue | \ in-ˈtrēg How to pronounce intrigue (audio) \
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.


in·​trigue | \ ˈin-ˌtrēg How to pronounce intrigue (audio) , in-ˈtrēg \

Kids Definition of intrigue (Entry 2 of 2)

: a secret and complex plot

More from Merriam-Webster on intrigue

Nglish: Translation of intrigue for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of intrigue for Arabic Speakers


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