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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Synonyms for temptation


allurement, enticement, lure, seduction

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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

House Democrats are unlikely to resist the temptations of impeachment and prioritize substance over style. Bobby Jindal, WSJ, "If Democrats Were Shrewd . . .," 30 Dec. 2018 Every storyteller’s temptation is to embellish—to make the tale more vivid, dramatic, entertaining. Lance Morrow, WSJ, "Trump-Russia Made for Gripping Fiction," 26 Mar. 2019 Season 2 is apparently what the group is now doing post-college, as a group of friends dealing with temptations and stresses in the real world, and was filmed over the summer in 2018—just before Randolph started filming The Bachelor. Katherine J. Igoe, Marie Claire, "'The Bachelor' Star Cassie Randolph Is Starring On Another Reality Show As Well," 6 Feb. 2019 Shaik spoke to Fox News about leaving her native Australia for New York City at age 17, coping with discrimination and why she’s not fazed by temptation. Stephanie Nolasco, Fox News, "Victoria's Secret model Shanina Shaik recalls being bullied over her looks: 'I wasn't in a good place'," 25 Sep. 2018 Many Americans hoped that engaging with China would open the country politically and economically and moderate any temptation on its part to challenge U.S. primacy. Richard N. Haass, WSJ, "The Crisis in U.S.-China Relations," 19 Oct. 2018 Payton couldn’t resist the temptations of Tinsel Town. Stephanie Nolasco, Fox News, "Former '50s star Barbara Payton endured a tragic downfall involving drug abuse, alcoholism," 16 Aug. 2018 Even the oyster scene with Jake, which shows up early in the show, lacks the danger and temptation of the novel’s salty, slippery descriptors. Alissa Wilkinson, Vox, "The delectable possibility and bland reality of Sweetbitter," 25 May 2018 Instead, Pace resisted any temptation to get cute and drafted a dynamic plug-and-play linebacker who drew pre-draft comparisons to Ray Lewis, Patrick Willis and Lance Briggs. David Haugh, chicagotribune.com, "Smart move, Ryan Pace: Isn't Chicago where the Butkus Award winner belongs?," 26 Apr. 2018

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

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Statistics for temptation

Last Updated

16 Apr 2019

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Time Traveler for temptation

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

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More Definitions for temptation



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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Comments on temptation

What made you want to look up temptation? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


marked by a state of overwhelming emotion

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