To captivate means to attract others, fascinating or enchanting them. Some people are able to captivate with wit and charm, others with physical beauty, still others with intelligence.

Notice the similarity between the verbs captivate and capture. Both come ultimately from the Latin captus "taken captive." Still, while both words mean some sort of hold on someone, capture sounds harsh, as though a trap has been set, while captivate is a softer, more attractive word that suggests there might be a willingness to be caught. Robert S. McNamara, a former U.S. secretary of defense, said, "Coercion, after all, merely captures man. Freedom captivates him.”

Definitions of captivate

v attract; cause to be enamored

becharm, beguile, bewitch, capture, catch, charm, enamor, enamour, enchant, entrance, fascinate, trance
hold the attention of
gratify and charm, usually in order to influence
Type of:
appeal, attract
be attractive to

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