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.
Contemporary Examples

Olympia Snowe is starring as Hamlet these days, captivating and frustrating audiences in Washington and across the country.
Snowe Removal Samuel P. Jacobs October 25, 2009

At about $15 a bottle, it is a cost-effective way of captivating party guests and intriguing connoisseurs.
Five Ways to Drink Bravely Mark Oldman October 24, 2010

Aside from oil, Russia has two great exports: brilliant, heady novelists and captivating dashboard camera videos.
Russian Dashcam Car Chase Alex Chancey, The Daily Beast Video October 8, 2014

Himmelman also gives us a captivating portrait of Benjamin Crowninshield Bradlee the man.
7 Scoops From New Bio of Ben Bradlee, “Yours in Truth” Matthew DeLuca May 6, 2012

We enjoy being part of the challenging, captivating grown-up world.
I Just Had a Baby, I’ll Call You Back Katty Kay, Claire Shipman June 1, 2009

Historical Examples

Wold exhibited his fine person and exerted all his captivating powers of intellect.
Wild Western Scenes John Beauchamp Jones

What he said was so wise, so well-balanced, and so captivating.
My Double Life Sarah Bernhardt

It was celebrated in the library at Bowood, where Sydney so often enchanted the captivating circle afterwards by his wit.
The Wits and Beaux of Society Grace & Philip Wharton

If he is so grave, I fear I have no chance of captivating him.
The Contrast Royall Tyler

Why do captivating and fascinating creatures, such as he was, ever grow old?
The Sunny Side of Diplomatic Life, 1875-1912 Lillie DeHegermann-Lindencrone

verb (transitive)
to hold the attention of by fascinating; enchant
an obsolete word for capture
v.

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.

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  • Captivatingly

    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. 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 […]

  • Captivation

    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. 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 […]



  • Captivative

    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. verb (transitive) to hold the attention of by fascinating; enchant an obsolete word for capture v. 1520s, “to enthrall with charm,” from Late Latin captivatus, past participle of […]

  • Captivator

    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. Historical Examples She’s a dressmaker by trade, she says; and a captivator of foolish young men by nature—don’t go anigh her. All Sorts and Conditions of Men Walter […]



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