Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To attract and hold by charm, beauty, or excellence. See Synonyms at charm.
  • transitive v. Archaic To capture.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To attract and hold interest and attention of; charm.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To take prisoner; to capture; to subdue.
  • transitive v. To acquire ascendancy over by reason of some art or attraction; to fascinate; to charm.
  • adj. Taken prisoner; made captive; insnared; charmed.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To seize by force, as an enemy in war, or anything belonging to an enemy; capture; take captive.
  • To bring into bondage; subdue; place in subjection.
  • To overpower and hold by excellence or beauty; charm or lure by any means; engage the regard, esteem, or affections of; fascinate.
  • =Syn 3. To enslave, enchant, lead captive, enamour, bewitch.
  • Taken captive; made prisoner; fascinated; insnared.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. attract; cause to be enamored

Etymologies

Late Latin captivāre, captivāt-, to capture, from Latin captīvus, prisoner; see captive.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

  • We tossed to the fish humbugs of wool, silk, and feathers, gauds such as captivate the greedy or the guileless.

    The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 10, No. 62, December, 1862

  • Another apparently had the word "captivate" confused with something else, but darned if I can figure out what: "Furthermore, many families found that having [a popular fictional television family] captivated as a cartoon was inappropriate because it wold target the viewers of children."

    CHE > Latest news

  • Treasure Hunt: one of several vintage gameshows to captivate the attention of Enter4entertainment staff.

    Digital economy or bust: the story of a new media startup – part 23

  • “Consummate storyteller Jeffries pens another title in the School for Heiresses series that is destined to captivate readers with its sensuality and wonderfully enchanting plot.”

    How to Woo a Reluctant Lady

  • SAN'A — Hundreds of protesters marched in each of Yemen's two biggest cities, the capital San'a and the port city of Aden, demonstrating in solidarity with the Egyptian uprising, which continues to captivate the Arab world and put pressure on other autocratic regimes in region.

    Anti-Mubarak Protests Flare in Yemen

  • OMG, my dear Gringal, how could I have left out the superlatives which captivate the imagination, turn the palette and brighten the eyes with a pinch of excellence.

    Page 2

  • Prior research has linked the popularity of the extrovert to their desire to captivate the attention of others, their expressive behaviors, verbal humor and fashionable dress.

    Who Is Popular at First Sight?

  • Gourmet has been sliding on its ability to captivate its audience ever since the January Cupcake Cover. 2 months after that issue, they actually posted a recipe on how to roast a chicken.

    Goodbye, 'Gourmet' magazine | EW.com

  • If you have some time to kill, I promise you that the game will captivate you even today.

    Modern pirates call for classic games

  • "TV formats such as Britain's Got Talent, Midsomer Murders and Spooks continue to captivate and inspire new audiences, demonstrating the global reach and appeal of the UK TV industry."

    Export of British television shows overseas rises by 9%

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