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


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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 That’s why the City Council resisted the temptation to tap into that fund even under the stresses of a 2009 recession and a 2019 budgetary shortfall. Gilbert Garcia, San Antonio Express-News, "Garcia: Nirenberg and Brockhouse disagree on raiding the city's reserve fund," 10 Feb. 2021 Like Reese, Peters resists the temptation to believe that queerness, in itself, can fix society’s broken promises. Crispin Long, The New Yorker, "The Insider Insights of “Detransition, Baby”," 31 Jan. 2021 Negative-emissions technologies carry with them a moral hazard: the temptation to keep emitting CO2 as usual and to use DAC as a crutch. Matt Simon, Wired, "Is It Time for an Emergency Rollout of Carbon-Eating Machines?," 26 Jan. 2021 Democrats in Congress should avoid the temptation to turn the page after Trump’s Senate trial. Alex Pareene, The New Republic, "An Impeachment Trial Will Be Good Practice for Actual Oversight," 15 Jan. 2021 There will be a temptation on the part of the sport’s power brokers to continue moving along Garcia at this pace. Dylan Hernández Columnist, Los Angeles Times, "Column: Young boxer Ryan Garcia earns thrilling victory, but he has work remaining," 3 Jan. 2021 Also, there is the temptation to then engage in other higher-risk activities, like watching a movie together indoors. Katia Hetter, CNN, "How to safely make it through the holiday season in the Covid-19 pandemic," 11 Dec. 2020 Now with a new administration coming into power next month, there may be a temptation to shrug off all this damage. Washington Post, "Trump is leaving press freedom in tatters. Biden can take these bold steps to repair the damage.," 6 Dec. 2020 Yet, Florida’s toughest opponent these days is the temptation and tendency to coast against inferior competition. Edgar Thompson, orlandosentinel.com, "UF vs. Tennessee is high stakes game for Gators, but lacks fanfare," 3 Dec. 2020

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

23 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Temptation.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/temptation. Accessed 5 Mar. 2021.

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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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