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[tempt] /tɛmpt/
verb (used with object)
to entice or allure to do something often regarded as unwise, wrong, or immoral.
to attract, appeal strongly to, or invite:
The offer tempts me.
to render strongly disposed to do something:
The book tempted me to read more on the subject.
to put (someone) to the test in a venturesome way; provoke:
to tempt one's fate.
Obsolete. to try or test.
Origin of tempt
1175-1225; Middle English < Latin temptāre to probe, feel, test, tempt
Related forms
temptable, adjective
pretempt, verb (used with object)
self-tempted, adjective
supertempt, verb (used with object)
untemptable, adjective
untempted, adjective
1. Tempt, seduce may both mean to allure or entice to something unwise or wicked. To tempt is to attract by holding out the probability of gratification or advantage, often in the direction of that which is wrong or unwise: to tempt a man with a bribe. To seduce is literally to lead astray, sometimes from that which absorbs one or demands attention, but oftener, in a moral sense, from rectitude, chastity, etc.: to seduce a person away from loyalty. 2. inveigle, induce, lure, incite, persuade. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for tempt
  • When placed on fishing lines to lure fish, the rods may also tempt turtles to their deaths, a new study says.
  • These negative moods continue to tempt alcoholics to return to drinking long after physical withdrawal symptoms have abated.
  • They tempt governments to splurge with money that may disappear tomorrow.
  • Research seems to indicate that this is a baiting mechanism used to tempt new prey.
  • But perhaps it will be enough to tempt you to tuck a few dahlias tubers in the ground this spring.
  • Perhaps she ought to count this as victory enough and not tempt fate by trying to engineer a rescue without a default.
  • As you can see in the video, the bees won't land on a cell phone, even when that cell phone has a drop of honey to tempt them.
  • The pharmas spent tens of thousands of dollars on booth space to tempt the docs to use their branded tchotchkes.
  • Some of the material for sale is splashier than usual, to tempt buyers out of their recession jitters.
  • Raising interest rates a few points is unlikely to tempt them back.
British Dictionary definitions for tempt


verb (transitive)
to attempt to persuade or entice to do something, esp something morally wrong or unwise
to allure, invite, or attract
to give rise to a desire in (someone) to do something; dispose: their unfriendliness tempted me to leave the party
to risk provoking (esp in the phrase tempt fate)
Derived Forms
temptable, adjective
tempter, noun
Word Origin
C13: from Old French tempter, from Latin temptāre to test
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for tempt

early 13c., from Old French tempter (12c.), from Latin temptare "to feel, try out, attempt to influence, test." Related: Tempted; tempting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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