verb \ ˈtem(p)t \
Updated on: 19 Feb 2018

Definition of tempt

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


play \ˈtem(p)-tə-bəl\ adjective

Examples of tempt in a Sentence

  1. that chocolate dessert sure tempts me, but I should stick with my diet

  2. refusing to lay in enough food for the long winter tempts the dangers of starvation

Recent Examples of tempt from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of tempt

Middle English, from Anglo-French tempter, tenter, from Latin temptare, tentare to feel, try

Synonym Discussion of 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

TEMPT Defined for English Language Learners



Definition of tempt for English Language Learners

  • : to cause (someone) to do or want to do something even though it may be wrong, bad, or unwise

TEMPT Defined for Kids


verb \ ˈtempt \

Definition of tempt for Students

tempted; tempting
: to consider or cause to consider doing something wrong or unwise
  • Sometimes in nice weather, she is tempted to skip school.
  • He tempted me to cheat.



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