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

Bulger’s violent demise adds a new layer of intrigue to his long-running life of crime and complicated relationship with the federal government. Jon Kamp, WSJ, "Bulger Was Killed When Cells Were Unlocked for Breakfast," 1 Nov. 2018 The selections include a biopic about Van Gogh, a heist movie, a crowd-pleasing historical comedy, and a wickedly funny tale of palace intrigue. Alissa Wilkinson, Vox, "8 movies out this month that are looking for Oscar season glory," 1 Nov. 2018 Despite some spectacularly inappropriate and public mishandlings of her youthful relationships with men, the 47-year-old veteran of palace intrigue has maneuvered some tricky royal waters with remark- ably admirable aplomb. Nancy Collins, Harper's BAZAAR, "Sarah Ferguson: Diana, the Queen and I," 12 Oct. 2018 Fragrance makers have always been masters of intrigue. Jennifer Goldstein, Marie Claire, "Customization Is Coming to the Fragrance World," 8 Oct. 2018 But there does remain a bit of intrigue in the 76ers’ remaining four games. Keith Pompey, Philly.com, "Sixers, Cavaliers jockeying in standings creates 'playoff game' atmosphere for Friday," 5 Apr. 2018 This is where the mystery veers from criminal investigation to international intrigue. David D. Kirkpatrick, The Seattle Times, "Jamal Khashoggi’s disappearance: What we know and don’t know," 15 Oct. 2018 Adding to the intrigue is the ever-complicated personal relationship between Strike and Robin, now a partner in the tiny firm. USA TODAY, "J.K. Rowling to deliver a new Robert Galbraith/Cormoran Strike mystery in September," 10 July 2018 Baseball’s great, big regular season is also its mystery and its intrigue. Paul Daugherty, Cincinnati.com, "Paul Daugherty: Forget numbers when deciding Billy Hamilton's value to the Cincinnati Reds," 7 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

While a visit to Hadrian’s Wall is intriguing, for me, the most poignant and memorable wall experiences are those from Europe’s recent past. Rick Stevestribune Content Agency, The Seattle Times, "In Europe’s border walls, a divided history and a united future," 11 Sep. 2018 Whatever requires me to move quickly and freely is intriguing. Stephanie Nolasco, Fox News, "Ben Affleck's rumored Playboy model girlfriend Shauna Sexton reveals her ideal man," 21 Aug. 2018 Kurt Benkert, Quinton Flowers and Kenny Hill are intriguing late-round/UDFA talents who could deliver some continuity for the O'Brien scheme if Watson got hurt again. Stephanie Stradley, Houston Chronicle, "Stephanie Stradley’s Q&A on the Texans and the 2018 NFL draft," 11 Apr. 2018 And some key Clinton backers sound intrigued by her. Aaron Blake, Washington Post, "The top 15 Democratic presidential candidates for 2020, ranked," 6 July 2018 Still, there's a whole lot of story behind the society, and, intrigued by its members, Ashton stays to investigate and hopefully write about it all for a book. Kathryn Lindsay, refinery29.com, "Netflix’s Newest Romance Actually Has Nothing To Do With Potatoes," 28 June 2018 For all of his seen-it-all demeanor, Roebuck is impressed with her as a cop and intrigued by her as a person. David Zurawik, baltimoresun.com, "'The Tunnel' returns to PBS and speaks truth to our border and immigration debate," 28 June 2018 The island draws tourists from the mainland intrigued by the village’s unique devastation. Washington Post, "Explore an abandoned Chinese village now engulfed by nature," 7 June 2018 Today the interloper is the four-legged kind: a massive raccoon who trundles to the open entrance of the woodshop, intrigued by some empty pizza boxes on the ground. Melinda Newman, Billboard, "Nick Offerman on Playing the Hip Dad in 'Hearts Beat Loud,' Buying a Guitar From Jeff Tweedy & Crate Digging," 5 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

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

Verb

see intrigue entry 1

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Statistics for intrigue

Last Updated

29 Nov 2018

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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