temp·​ta·​tion | \ tem(p)-ˈtā-shən How to pronounce temptation (audio) \

Definition of temptation

1 : the act of tempting or the state of being tempted especially to evil : enticement
2 : something tempting : a cause or occasion of enticement

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Examples of temptation in a Sentence

Money is always a temptation. The dessert menu has a lot of delicious temptations. the temptations of the city
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Recent Examples on the Web The temptation is to do this from a place of fear rather than a place of empowerment. Stacey Steinberg, Washington Post, "Let’s tell kids what they can do online, instead of what they can’t do," 13 Feb. 2020 In that environment, the temptation for politicians is to play to identity politics and to the grievances of their particular followers. Gerald F. Seib, WSJ, "Why Democracy Is Troubled (and How to Fix It)," 19 Jan. 2020 For those of us whose own family members were killed in the death camps, the temptation can be overwhelming to say that this crime was unique and that no analogies could possibly be valid. Peter E. Gordon, The New York Review of Books, "Why Historical Analogy Matters," 7 Jan. 2020 Of course, the temptation is to say, see it because of the flat-out incredible performance by Adam Sandler. Bill Goodykoontz, azcentral, "Adam Sandler is great — yes, great — in the jittery, nerve-wracking 'Uncut Gems'," 25 Dec. 2019 The temptation for most investors is to add to what recently worked. Nancy Tengler, USA TODAY, "Why Friday’s jobs report just extended the bull market," 9 Dec. 2019 Given that fact, plus its exotic architecture and music biz milieu, the temptation might be not to revisit Egan’s Pulitzer Prize-winning work of fiction, for fear the book might itself have been scarred by time’s merciless thugs. Ew Staff, EW.com, "Why A Visit From the Goon Squad is EW's Best Book of the Decade," 25 Nov. 2019 The temptation is for girls to migrate to cities, as so many people are doing around the world. Wired, "Climate Change Is Brutal for Everyone, But Worse for Women," 25 Nov. 2019 The temptation is strong to sit in the darkened gallery much longer than originally planned, wondering where Joseph will go next. Susan Dunne, courant.com, "‘BLKNWS’ video installation at Atheneum presents an affirming view of black Americans," 13 Nov. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'temptation.' 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 temptation

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for temptation

Middle English temptacioun "testing, enticement to sin," borrowed from Anglo-French tentacion, borrowed from Late Latin temptātiōn-, temptātiō "enticement to sin," going back to Latin, "attempt, attack," from temptāre "to feel, test, attempt, make an assault on, attack" + -tiōn-, -tiō, suffix of verbal action — more at tempt

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Time Traveler for temptation

Time Traveler

The first known use of temptation was in the 13th century

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Statistics for temptation

Last Updated

19 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Temptation.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/temptation. Accessed 28 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for temptation


How to pronounce temptation (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of temptation

: a strong urge or desire to have or do something
: something that causes a strong urge or desire to have or do something and especially something that is bad, wrong, or unwise


temp·​ta·​tion | \ temp-ˈtā-shən How to pronounce temptation (audio) \

Kids Definition of temptation

1 : the act of considering or causing to consider doing something wrong or unwise
2 : a strong desire a temptation for candy
3 : something that causes a strong desire The money was a temptation.

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