Temptation is something you want to have or to do, even though you know you shouldn't. That bag of peanut butter cups on top of your fridge might be an example of a temptation.

The thing that you want despite knowing it's not good for you — like the cool sneakers you really can't afford — is a temptation. The feeling is also a temptation — so wanting those shoes is temptation. The Latin word temptare, or to taste, is where temptation comes from, which makes a lot of sense when you think of that bag of peanut butter cups calling to you from the kitchen.

Definitions of temptation

n the act of influencing by exciting hope or desire

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blandishment, wheedling
the act of urging by means of teasing or flattery
leading astray, leading off
the act of enticing others into sinful ways
enticing someone astray from right behavior
allurement, solicitation
the act of enticing a person to do something wrong (as an offer of sex in return for money)
ingratiation, insinuation
the act of gaining acceptance or affection for yourself by persuasive and subtle blandishments
Type of:
causing something without any direct or apparent effort

n the desire to have or do something that you know you should avoid

“he felt the temptation and his will power weakened”
Type of:
the feeling that accompanies an unsatisfied state

n something that seduces or has the quality to seduce

forbidden fruit
originally an apple from the tree of knowledge of good and evil in the Garden of Eden; it is now used to refer to anything that is tempting but dangerous (as sexuality)
bait, come-on, hook, lure, sweetener
anything that serves as an enticement
Type of:
a cognitive factor that tends to have an effect on what you do