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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 captivatingly
Historical Examples
  • Not a point in the story is overlooked, and every phase of meaning is captivatingly illustrated in pantomime.

    Famous Prima Donnas Lewis Clinton Strang
  • The present sketch is captivatingly lifelike and thoroughly well-written, arousing a response from every lover of children.

    Writings in the United Amateur, 1915-1922 Howard Phillips Lovecraft
  • She entered the room with an air of triumph, as who should say: "See how captivatingly beautiful I am!"

    The Morals of Marcus Ordeyne William J. Locke
  • The "Stabat Mater" music would be captivatingly beautiful in any setting.

    The Standard Oratorios George P. Upton
British Dictionary definitions for captivatingly


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 captivatingly



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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