tempted; tempting; tempts

transitive verb

1
: to entice to do wrong by promise of pleasure or gain
2
a
: to induce to do something
b
: to cause to be strongly inclined
was tempted to call it quits
3
a
: to try presumptuously : provoke
tempt fate
b
: to risk the dangers of
c
obsolete : to make trial of : test
temptable adjective
Choose the Right Synonym for tempt

lure, entice, inveigle, decoy, tempt, seduce mean to lead astray from one's true course.

lure implies a drawing into danger, evil, or difficulty through attracting and deceiving.

lured naive investors with get-rich-quick schemes

entice suggests drawing by artful or adroit means.

advertising designed to entice new customers

inveigle implies enticing by cajoling or flattering.

fund-raisers inveigling wealthy alumni

decoy implies a luring into entrapment by artifice.

attempting to decoy the enemy into an ambush

tempt implies the presenting of an attraction so strong that it overcomes the restraints of conscience or better judgment.

tempted by the offer of money

seduce implies a leading astray by persuasion or false promises.

seduced by assurances of assistance

Example Sentences

that chocolate dessert sure tempts me, but I should stick with my diet refusing to lay in enough food for the long winter tempts the dangers of starvation
Recent Examples on the Web The 4,400-pound contraption also included a circular opening where researchers could tempt the bears into walking with fish and other tasty treats. Sarah Kuta, Smithsonian Magazine, 13 Jan. 2023 That loneliness can tempt a person into deeper alliance with robots has troubled many ethicists. Katie Engelhart, The New Yorker, 24 May 2021 From the Moroccan Sahara to Australia’s Blue Mountains, these ultramarathons boast scenery that will (nearly) distract you from the long slog and tempt even non-runners—at least to watch. Ryan Lenora Brown, WSJ, 29 Nov. 2022 In Marek Horn’s play, two friends return to a favorite beach to tease, tempt, and verbally spar with each other during shifting time periods across five centuries. Terry Byrne, BostonGlobe.com, 22 Nov. 2022 The proposal would have brought together two very similar airlines — both tempt travelers with rock-bottom fares but tack on fees for some things that bigger carriers include with most tickets, from soft drinks to room for a bag in the overhead bin. David Koenig, ajc, 27 July 2022 The proposal would have brought together two very similar airlines — both tempt travelers with rock-bottom fares but tack on fees for some things that bigger carriers include with most tickets, from soft drinks to room for a bag in the overhead bin. David Koenig, Dallas News, 27 July 2022 As Bloomberg points out, Disney is clearly hoping that this latest price hike will tempt more consumers to opt for its streaming bundle, which includes access to ESPN+, Disney+, and Hulu for $13.99 per month. Stephanie Mlot, PCMAG, 18 July 2022 Now that the Federal Reserve is hiking interest rates to fight inflation, that could mean a slowdown in loan demand, although rising rates will tempt many members to add to savings. John Dobosz, Forbes, 21 June 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'tempt.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

Etymology

Middle English tempten "to test, incite to sin, attempt," borrowed from Anglo-French tempter, temter, tenter, going back to Latin temptāre, tentāre "to feel, test, examine, attempt, make an assault on, attack" (Late Latin, "to incite to sin"), perhaps frequentative derivative from an Indo-European verbal base *temp- "stretch, extend" (hence, "grope for, feel") — more at tempo

First Known Use

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of tempt was in the 13th century

Dictionary Entries Near tempt

Cite this Entry

“Tempt.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tempt. Accessed 4 Feb. 2023.

Kids Definition

tempt

verb
1
: to persuade or try to persuade to do wrong by promise of pleasure or gain
2
: to risk the dangers of
tempt fate
3
a
: to get to do something
tempted her to taste the cake
b
: to cause to have a certain feeling
was tempted to quit
temptable adjective
tempter noun

More from Merriam-Webster on tempt

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!


Words Named After People

  • name tags
  • Namesake of the leotard, Jules Léotard had what profession?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Solve today's spelling word game by finding as many words as you can with using just 7 letters. Longer words score more points.

Can you make 12 words with 7 letters?

PLAY