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[fas-uh-neyt] /ˈfæs əˌneɪt/
verb (used with object), fascinated, fascinating.
to attract and hold attentively by a unique power, personal charm, unusual nature, or some other special quality; enthrall:
a vivacity that fascinated the audience.
to arouse the interest or curiosity of; allure.
to transfix or deprive of the power of resistance, as through terror:
The sight of the snake fascinated the rabbit.
Obsolete. to bewitch.
Obsolete. to cast under a spell by a look.
verb (used without object), fascinated, fascinating.
to capture the interest or hold the attention.
Origin of fascinate
1590-1600; < Latin fascinātus, past participle of fascināre to bewitch, cast a spell on, verbal derivative of fascinum evil spell, bewitchment
Related forms
fascinatedly, adverb
fascinative, adjective
half-fascinated, adjective
quasi-fascinated, adjective
unfascinated, adjective
1. bewitch, enchant, spellbind, charm. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for fascinate
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The notice of the great man—the hero of many a famous story in every lawyer's office in London—appeared to fascinate the boy.

    The Moonstone Wilkie Collins
  • Her singing especially seemed to enchant and fascinate the girl.

    Weighed and Wanting George MacDonald
  • There are a very few persons whose forms and features please and fascinate even without the aid of accomplishments.

    The Youthful Wanderer George H. Heffner
  • He wished to try to fascinate her again, but she quieted him with a movement of her hands.

    The Dream Emile Zola
  • Each seems without a prototype, yet all fascinate us with elements wrested from the shadow of the Supernatural.

    The Raven Edgar Allan Poe
British Dictionary definitions for fascinate


verb (mainly transitive)
to attract and delight by arousing interest or curiosity: his stories fascinated me for hours
to render motionless, as with a fixed stare or by arousing terror or awe
(archaic) to put under a spell
Derived Forms
fascinatedly, adverb
fascination, noun
fascinative, adjective
Usage note
A person can be fascinated by or with another person or thing. It is correct to speak of someone's fascination with a person or thing; one can also say a person or thing has a fascination for someone
Word Origin
C16: from Latin fascināre, from fascinum a bewitching
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 fascinate

1590s, "bewitch, enchant," from Middle French fasciner (14c.), from Latin fascinatus, past participle of fascinare "bewitch, enchant, fascinate," from fascinus "spell, witchcraft," of uncertain origin. Possibly from Greek baskanos "bewitcher, sorcerer," with form influenced by Latin fari "speak" (see fame (n.)).

The Greek word might be from a Thracian equivalent of Greek phaskein "to say;" cf. also enchant, and German besprechen "to charm," from sprechen "to speak." Earliest used of witches and of serpents, who were said to be able to cast a spell by a look that rendered one unable to move or resist. Sense of "delight, attract" is first recorded 1815. Related: Fascinated; fascinating.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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