mes·​mer·​ize ˈmez-mə-ˌrīz How to pronounce mesmerize (audio)
 also  ˈmes-
mesmerized; mesmerizing

transitive verb

: to subject to mesmerism
also : hypnotize
: spellbind
I found myself mesmerized by the grandiosity of it allArnold Plotnick
The crowd was mesmerized by the acrobats.
mesmerizer noun

Did you know?

Experts can’t agree on whether Franz Anton Mesmer (1734-1815) was a quack or a genius, but all concede that the Swabian physician's name is the source of the word mesmerize. In his day, Mesmer was the toast of Paris, where he enjoyed the support of notables including Queen Marie Antoinette. He treated patients with therapeutic procedures (called, appropriately enough, mesmerism) involving what he claimed was a mysterious force termed animal magnetism. (Many believe that mesmerism was what we now call hypnotism). Accordingly, the verb mesmerize was first used to mean "to subject to mesmerism" before broadening to be synonymous with hypnotize, and later to mean "to amaze or captivate."

Examples of mesmerize in a Sentence

discovered that the children were mesmerized by a television show
Recent Examples on the Web Her great notion in reviving Hite is treating her less like a subject getting scrutinized all over again, and instead as the mesmerizing star of a heroic rise-and-fall narrative. Robert Abele, Los Angeles Times, 18 Nov. 2023 Spotting its icy peaks, mesmerizing chasms and crevasses up close gave a face to the climate change the land is experiencing, a sobering reminder of the fleeting nature of these natural wonders. Kayla Becker, Travel + Leisure, 28 Oct. 2023 There were mangos, guavas, avocados, and more, but the crop that mesmerized me most was the coffee, which my grandfather would dry and roast right in the front yard. Christina Pérez, Vogue, 27 Oct. 2023 Stake them along your garden or down the garden path this year. $27 on Amazon Why Your Neighbors Can’t Stop Staring at Your Windows Turns out, the secret to a mesmerizing home isn’t a fresh coat of paint. Matthew Parker, Rolling Stone, 8 Nov. 2023 As mesmerizing as the performers were (none as vivid as Nido Uwera), the threads of their stories had trouble binding together as one. Gia Kourlas, New York Times, 7 Nov. 2023 On Target View On Walmart There’s something so mesmerizing about combining colors and seeing mysterious liquids pour from a test tube into a beaker. Dorian Smith-Garcia, Parents, 29 Oct. 2023 Hauser & Wirth downtown L.A. openings Hauser & Wirth in downtown L.A. just opened three new exhibitions that’ll leave you mesmerized. Steven Vargas, Los Angeles Times, 20 Sep. 2023 But scroll just long enough and look!, a mesmerizing photo of hummingbirds in action. Amanda Long, Washington Post, 19 Sep. 2023 See More

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

Word History

First Known Use

1829, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of mesmerize was in 1829


Dictionary Entries Near mesmerize

Cite this Entry

“Mesmerize.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


mes·​mer·​ize ˈmez-mə-ˌrīz How to pronounce mesmerize (audio)
ˈmes- How to pronounce mesmerize (audio)
mesmerized; mesmerizing

Medical Definition


transitive verb
variants or British mesmerise
mesmerized or British mesmerised; mesmerizing or British mesmerising
: to subject to mesmerism
also : hypnotize
mesmerization noun
or British mesmerisation

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