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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 captivation
Historical Examples
  • The marvel of their captivation lay in the spell of the enchanter.

    A Day's Ride Charles James Lever
  • There was a captivation in its promise of adventure that he felt to be irresistible.

    Tony Butler Charles James Lever
  • He knew that Clare Kenwardine was not the girl to attempt his captivation merely because he had shown himself susceptible.

    Brandon of the Engineers Harold Bindloss
  • He still acknowledged that her beauty was the most complete; but he found in Camilla a variety that was captivation.

    Camilla Fanny Burney
  • If all the varied hues of captivation her changing humor wore were but the deep practised lures of coquetry?

  • Manner is perhaps more seducing than mere beauty; but where they are allied, the captivation is irresistible.

    Rattlin the Reefer Edward Howard
  • Now Julia L'Estrange was a very pretty girl, and with a captivation of manner which to the young sailor was irresistible.

    The Bramleighs Of Bishop's Folly Charles James Lever
  • And he opened his watch-case as he spoke, and displayed a small miniature in enamel, of marvellous beauty and captivation.

    The Bramleighs Of Bishop's Folly Charles James Lever
  • She was not, it is true, of the ordinary type of beauty, whose chief ornament is an effort at captivation.

    A Dozen Ways Of Love Lily Dougall
  • Certainly, he reflected, no preparations were in progress in this quarter for his captivation.

    The Storm Centre Charles Egbert Craddock
British Dictionary definitions for captivation


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 captivation



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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