tempted; tempting; tempts

transitive verb

: to entice to do wrong by promise of pleasure or gain
: to induce to do something
: to cause to be strongly inclined
was tempted to call it quits
: to try presumptuously : provoke
tempt fate
: to risk the dangers of
obsolete : to make trial of : test
temptable adjective
Choose the Right Synonym for tempt

lure, entice, inveigle, decoy, tempt, seduce mean to lead astray from one's true course.

lure implies a drawing into danger, evil, or difficulty through attracting and deceiving.

lured naive investors with get-rich-quick schemes

entice suggests drawing by artful or adroit means.

advertising designed to entice new customers

inveigle implies enticing by cajoling or flattering.

fund-raisers inveigling wealthy alumni

decoy implies a luring into entrapment by artifice.

attempting to decoy the enemy into an ambush

tempt implies the presenting of an attraction so strong that it overcomes the restraints of conscience or better judgment.

tempted by the offer of money

seduce implies a leading astray by persuasion or false promises.

seduced by assurances of assistance

Example Sentences

that chocolate dessert sure tempts me, but I should stick with my diet refusing to lay in enough food for the long winter tempts the dangers of starvation
Recent Examples on the Web Social and romantic opportunities will tempt you, but schedule them for Thursday when Venus has a power date with fantasy agent Neptune. The Astrotwins, ELLE, 13 Nov. 2022 Making a sudden change in your habits may tempt you at this time. Chicago Tribune, 25 Oct. 2022 Her lie is profound and hurtful; don’t tempt her to embellish further or to put her own spin on these long-ago events. Amy Dickinson, Detroit Free Press, 19 Aug. 2022 Her lie is profound and hurtful; don’t tempt her to embellish further or to put her own spin on these long-ago events. Amy Dickinson, oregonlive, 19 Aug. 2022 Seasonal tarts and pies decorate the pastry case and tempt with unique presentation and flavors. Bahar Anooshahr, The Arizona Republic, 11 Nov. 2022 This soy candle can only live in the kitchen because its mouthwatering scent of apricot chantilly creme with notes of orange buttercream and maple sugar might tempt you to get a snack. Madison Yauger, Peoplemag, 25 Oct. 2022 Just prior to the pandemic, survey numbers from the snow crab population looked healthy enough for managers to raise catch limits and to tempt crew members to buy into the fishery. Elizabeth Earl For Alaska Journal Of Commerce, Anchorage Daily News, 18 Oct. 2022 Now, the futuristic city is trying to tempt executives to lead growing industries like tourism and technology with pay as high as $1.1 million annually, the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday, based on an internal Neom document. Prarthana Prakash, Fortune, 11 Oct. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'tempt.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History


Middle English tempten "to test, incite to sin, attempt," borrowed from Anglo-French tempter, temter, tenter, going back to Latin temptāre, tentāre "to feel, test, examine, attempt, make an assault on, attack" (Late Latin, "to incite to sin"), perhaps frequentative derivative from an Indo-European verbal base *temp- "stretch, extend" (hence, "grope for, feel") — more at tempo

First Known Use

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of tempt was in the 13th century

Dictionary Entries Near tempt

Cite this Entry

“Tempt.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tempt. Accessed 1 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition

: to persuade or try to persuade to do wrong by promise of pleasure or gain
: to risk the dangers of
tempt fate
: to get to do something
tempted her to taste the cake
: to cause to have a certain feeling
was tempted to quit
temptable adjective
tempter noun

More from Merriam-Webster on tempt

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