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[kap-tuh-veyt] /ˈkæp təˌveɪt/
verb (used with object), captivated, captivating.
to attract and hold the attention or interest of, as by beauty or excellence; enchant:
Her blue eyes and red hair captivated him.
Obsolete. to capture; subjugate.
Origin of captivate
1520-30; < Late Latin captīvātus (past participle of captīvāre to take captive), equivalent to Latin captīv(us) captive + -ātus -ate1
Related forms
captivatingly, adverb
captivation, noun
captivative, adjective
captivator, noun
uncaptivated, adjective
uncaptivating, adjective
uncaptivative, adjective
1. fascinate, bewitch, charm. 2. subdue. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for captivate
  • captivate is great for building interactive self-guided simulations and branching scenarios.
  • No play, however political and worthy, can captivate an audience unless it is actually good.
  • It is the curse of paleontologists that they can never attain a definitive understanding of the creatures that so captivate them.
  • But tinkering with technology would continue to captivate him.
  • Clearly, the science-fiction dream of the flexible display continues to captivate the imagination.
  • These three adventures have something to captivate even the wildest imaginations.
  • Both modes of execution challenge the watercolorist, yet captivate the viewer.
  • But even during cooler climes the twinkling lights and sweep of the view can captivate.
  • Stunning views will captivate your imagination for your dream estate.
  • Tranquility is found among this majestic ridge top location with breathtaking panoramic views sure to captivate your spirit.
British Dictionary definitions for captivate


verb (transitive)
to hold the attention of by fascinating; enchant
an obsolete word for capture
Derived Forms
captivatingly, adverb
captivation, noun
captivator, noun
Word Origin
C16: from Late Latin captivāre, from captīvuscaptive
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for captivate

1520s, "to enthrall with charm," from Late Latin captivatus, past participle of captivare "to take, capture," from captivus (see captive). Literal sense (1550s) is rare or obsolete in English, which uses capture (q.v.). Latin captare "to take, hold" also had a transferred sense of "to entice, entrap, allure." Related: Captivated; captivating; captivatingly.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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