tempted; tempting; tempts

transitive verb

: to entice to do wrong by promise of pleasure or gain
: to induce to do something
: to cause to be strongly inclined
was tempted to call it quits
: to try presumptuously : provoke
tempt fate
: to risk the dangers of
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

Examples of tempt in a Sentence

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 With beauty trends constantly evolving, there’s always a new product to tempt us on the market. Shelby Stewart, Essence, 13 May 2024 There are signs Trump has still been tempted to lash out. Eric Cortellessa, TIME, 9 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for tempt 

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

Word History


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 26 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


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

More from Merriam-Webster on tempt

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