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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 Besant

His errand was to produce a deadly quarrel between the captive soul and the wicked one, its captivator.
The Parables of Our Lord William Arnot

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

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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    a prisoner. a person who is enslaved or dominated; slave: He is the captive of his own fears. made or held prisoner, especially in war: captive troops. kept in confinement or restraint: captive animals. enslaved by love, beauty, etc.; captivated: her captive beau. of or relating to a captive. managed as an affiliate or subsidiary […]

  • Captive audience

    Listeners or onlookers who have no choice but to attend. For example, It’s a required course and, knowing he has a captive audience, the professor rambles on endlessly. This expression, first recorded in 1902, uses captive in the sense of “unable to escape.” Contemporary Examples “This is kind of a captive audience,” explained Sgt. Sean […]

  • Captive balloon

    noun a lighter-than-air balloon secured to the ground by a tether, often used for military exercises Historical Examples I painted this picture of the battle of the Aisne from a captive balloon. The New York Times Current History: the European War, February, 1915 Various The racing was uninteresting, and presently Angela suggested that we should […]

  • Captivity

    the state or period of being held, imprisoned, enslaved, or confined. (initial capital letter) Babylonian captivity. Contemporary Examples If you found yourself on the losing side of a tribal war, odds are good you would be sold into captivity. Slavery As ‘Innovation’ and Other Provocative Ideas: What I Learned From Henry Louis Gates’s ‘Many Rivers […]

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