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 Far from being able to enjoy one’s safety, the temptation is to cling to one’s loyalties. Aatish Taseer, Time, "‘I Pray for My Nani.’ The Survivor’s Guilt of Watching India’s COVID-19 Catastrophe Unfold From Afar," 27 Apr. 2021 When Batalion unsparingly describes the bloodbaths in the ghetto streets, or descends into the sadistic hell of Nazi prisons, the temptation is to turn away. BostonGlobe.com, "Brave women fighting Nazis in ‘The Light of Days’," 15 Apr. 2021 However as China’s relations with Europe, the US, and Japan grow more acrimonious, the temptation to use a boycott threat as a bargaining chip is likely to grow stronger. Annabelle Timsit, Quartz, "What can a boycott of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics achieve?," 13 Apr. 2021 Resisting the temptation to check email is like wanting to get off sugar while having a plate of donuts attached to your hand. Tess Brigham, Forbes, "Stop Trying To Make ‘Multitasking’ Happen: 5 Ways To Beat Workplace Distractions And Keep Yourself On Task," 12 Apr. 2021 As the debate begins over President Biden’s corporate tax increases, the temptation will be to focus on the headline tax rates. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Anatomy of a Biden Tax Hike," 5 Apr. 2021 By resisting the temptation to deliver a lecture in return for an offer of hospitality. Washington Post, "Miss Manners: Workplace vulgarity can’t be excused by implicating the French," 2 Mar. 2021 What actually matters is covering the facts on the ground, calling out frivolous challenges to legitimate ballots, and resisting the temptation to spin. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, "The Fate of American Democracy Is in the Hands of Cable News," 3 Nov. 2020 Manager Dave Roberts followed his head instead of his heart, resisting the temptation to summon the franchise’s career-saves (312) and postseason-saves (18) leader to stick with Urías, who was clearly in a groove. Mike Digiovanna, Los Angeles Times, "Why Dave Roberts chose Julio Urías over Kenley Jansen in Game 7," 19 Oct. 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

6 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Temptation.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/temptation. Accessed 14 May. 2021.

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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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