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fascinate

[fas-uh-neyt] /ˈfæs əˌneɪt/
verb (used with object), fascinated, fascinating.
1.
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.
2.
to arouse the interest or curiosity of; allure.
3.
to transfix or deprive of the power of resistance, as through terror:
The sight of the snake fascinated the rabbit.
4.
Obsolete. to bewitch.
5.
Obsolete. to cast under a spell by a look.
verb (used without object), fascinated, fascinating.
6.
to capture the interest or hold the attention.
Origin
1590-1600
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
Synonyms
1. bewitch, enchant, spellbind, charm.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for fascinate
  • The art of mummy-making, and why its beneficiaries fascinate us so.
  • The fish in a local park fascinate and repel her in equal measure.
  • But blues fascinate butterfly experts with their mind-boggling complexity.
  • Her work explores questions that fascinate her in science, art, and human nature.
  • He didn't see combat, but aviation continued to fascinate him after he returned to college.
  • As cool as the race may be, it's the vehicles running in it that fascinate us.
  • But those cuts with baffling names and alluring prices fascinate me.
  • Differences between academic areas always fascinate me.
  • Instead she offers characters that absorb and fascinate.
  • fascinate students with tales of coast redwoods, the tallest trees in the world.
British Dictionary definitions for fascinate

fascinate

/ˈfæsɪˌneɪt/
verb (mainly transitive)
1.
to attract and delight by arousing interest or curiosity: his stories fascinated me for hours
2.
to render motionless, as with a fixed stare or by arousing terror or awe
3.
(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
v.

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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