Definitions

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

  • transitive v. To try to get (someone) to do wrong, especially by a promise of reward.
  • transitive v. To be inviting or attractive to: A second helping tempted me. We refused the offer even though it tempted us. See Synonyms at lure.
  • transitive v. To provoke or to risk provoking: Don't tempt fate.
  • transitive v. To cause to be strongly disposed: He was tempted to walk out.
  • intransitive v. To be attractive or inviting: a meal that tempts.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To provoke someone to do wrong, especially by promising a reward; to entice.
  • v. To attract; to allure.
  • v. To provoke something; to court.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To put to trial; to prove; to test; to try.
  • transitive v. To lead, or endeavor to lead, into evil; to entice to what is wrong; to seduce.
  • transitive v. To endeavor to persuade; to induce; to invite; to incite; to provoke; to instigate.
  • transitive v. To endeavor to accomplish or reach; to attempt.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To put to trial; try; test; put to the test.
  • To entice; attract; allure; invite; induce; incline; dispose; incite.
  • To incite or entice to evil; entice to something wrong by presenting arguments that are plausible or convincing, or by the offer of some pleasure or apparent advantage as the inducement; seduce.
  • To provoke; defy; act presumptuously toward.
  • To attempt; endeavor to do, accomplish, or reach; venture on.
  • Synonyms and To lure, inveigle, decoy, bait, bribe.
  • n. An attempt.

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

  • v. give rise to a desire by being attractive or inviting
  • v. dispose or incline or entice to
  • v. induce into action by using one's charm
  • v. try presumptuously
  • v. provoke someone to do something through (often false or exaggerated) promises or persuasion
  • v. try to seduce

Etymologies

Middle English tempten, from Old French tempter, from Latin temptāre, to feel, try.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old French tempter (French: tenter), from Latin temptare, more correctly tentare ("to handle, touch, try, test, tempt"), frequentative of tenere ("to hold"). Displaced native Old English costning ("temptation"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • 16 Disappointment might urge the flatterer to secret revenge; and the first glance of favor might again tempt him to suspend and suppress a libel, 17 in which the Roman Cyrus is degraded into an odious and contemptible tyrant, in which both the emperor and his consort Theodora are seriously represented as two daemons, who had assumed a human form for the destruction of mankind.

    The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

  • Delays in product recalls tempt tragedyThe Los Angeles Times Mega Brands agreed to pay a civil penalty of $1.1 million last week in connection with a defective toy that caused the death of a toddler.

    This week in safety: Power on (safely), dude

  • These labels tempt children with free gifts and seduce them to be loyal consumers of a particular product.

    Trans Fats

  • For to tempt is to make an experiment, which is not done save in regard to something unknown.

    Summa Theologica, Part III (Tertia Pars) From the Complete American Edition

  • _I answer that, _ Properly speaking, to tempt is to test the person tempted.

    Summa Theologica, Part II-II (Secunda Secundae) Translated by Fathers of the English Dominican Province

  • Web is haven for student plagiarism | Record labels tempt iTunes users

    ENN.ie

  • By "tempt" I mean "when we were in New York and taking the train out to Sunnybrook, we went by a number of stations that had X3 posters, and I was tempted to get off and steal one of the Wolvie ones and if I'd seen a Rogue one I think I might actually have done it", so while there is no earthly need for a 4x6 poster, I, er, bid on it anyway.

    terrible geek

  • (The move in question swings the girl to the left, to the right, to the middle and up .... the quintessential swing idiosyncracy). the AB girls also said that the dancing girls might not be able to wear skirts since it would "tempt" the guys in the crowd.

    dance away

  • On Wednesday, they gave me all kinds of cool stuff to "tempt" me from schoolwork for the Temptation Island viewing that we had in my room.

    qdiosa Diary Entry

  • Thus the word "tempt" has one sense in Gen., xxii, 1, and quite another sense in James, i, 13; the expressions "faith" and "works" have not the same sense in Rom., iii,

    The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 7: Gregory XII-Infallability

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