cap·​ti·​vate | \ ˈkap-tə-ˌvāt How to pronounce captivate (audio) \
captivated; captivating

Definition of captivate

transitive verb

1 : to influence and dominate by some special charm, art, or trait and with an irresistible appeal We were captivated by her beauty. The scenery captivated our attention.
2 archaic : seize, capture

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Other Words from captivate

captivation \ ˌkap-​tə-​ˈvā-​shən How to pronounce captivate (audio) \ noun
captivator \ ˈkap-​tə-​ˌvā-​tər How to pronounce captivate (audio) \ noun

Synonyms for captivate


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attract, allure, charm, captivate, fascinate, enchant mean to draw another by exerting a powerful influence. attract applies to any degree or kind of ability to exert influence over another. students attracted by the school's locale allure implies an enticing by what is fair, pleasing, or seductive. an alluring smile charm implies the power of casting a spell over the person or thing affected and so compelling a response charmed by their hospitality , but it may, like captivate, suggest no more than evoking delight or admiration. her performances captivated audiences fascinate suggests a magical influence and tends to stress the ineffectiveness of attempts to resist. a story that continues to fascinate children enchant is perhaps the strongest of these terms in stressing the appeal of the agent and the degree of delight evoked in the subject. hopelessly enchanted by her beauty

Examples of captivate in a Sentence

The play has been captivating audiences for years. the clown captivated the toddlers with his balloon tricks
Recent Examples on the Web To captivate an audience, your characters in the story have to be relatable, and kids today are already so used to being themselves in front of cameras that their authenticity is inevitable. Irma Miriam Penunuri, Rolling Stone, 15 Oct. 2021 While the designs captivate, the ticket funds will be hard at work. Dallas News, 26 Sep. 2021 Her distinguishing qualities include an irresistible charm, a great human depth, the talent to play a whole range of roles and the ability to captivate an audience like no other. Naman Ramachandran, Variety, 26 Aug. 2021 But the regions' urban centers captivate voters, too, with the best cities in Central and South America offering an exhilarating blend of modern culture, cross-cultural cuisine, and adventures of their own. Sarah Bruning, Travel + Leisure, 8 Sep. 2021 But such classics captivate us with their ornate mysteries and procedural minutiae; no two scenes in those pictures tend to be alike. Bilge Ebiri, Vulture, 13 Aug. 2021 Over-the-top behavior and fashion continued to captivate audiences, who tuned in to watch iconic pop culture moments unfold in real time. Michelle Delgado, Smithsonian Magazine, 31 Aug. 2021 Move over, Van Gogh — there's another gorgeous immersive art experience coming to captivate audiences across the U.S. Meena Thiruvengadam, Travel + Leisure, 8 July 2021 So the question becomes whether there’s a potential OSU QB who might captivate the pros. Stephen Means, cleveland, 29 Apr. 2021

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

circa 1555, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for captivate

see captive entry 1

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Time Traveler for captivate

Time Traveler

The first known use of captivate was circa 1555

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Last Updated

23 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Captivate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for captivate



English Language Learners Definition of captivate

: to attract and hold the attention of (someone) by being interesting, pretty, etc.


cap·​ti·​vate | \ ˈkap-tə-ˌvāt How to pronounce captivate (audio) \
captivated; captivating

Kids Definition of captivate

: to fascinate by some special charm The play is captivating audiences.

More from Merriam-Webster on captivate

Nglish: Translation of captivate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of captivate for Arabic Speakers


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