From Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search



Learned borrowing from Late Latin captīvātus, the perfect passive participle of captīvō (to capture),[1][2] from Latin captīvus (captive, prisoner) (ultimately from capiō (to capture, seize), from Proto-Indo-European *keh₂p- (to hold; to seize)) + (suffix forming first-conjugation verbs). The English word is analyzable as captive +‎ -ate (suffix forming verbs meaning ‘to act [in the specified manner]’, and adjectives meaning ‘characterized by [the specified thing]’).



captivate (third-person singular simple present captivates, present participle captivating, simple past and past participle captivated) (transitive)

  1. (obsolete)
    1. To make (a person, an animal, etc.) a captive; to take prisoner; to capture, to subdue.
      • c. 1591–1592 (date written), William Shakespeare, “The Third Part of Henry the Sixt, []”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies [] (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act I, scene iv], page 151, column 2:
        Hovv ill-beſeeming is it in thy Sex, / To triumph like an Amazonian Trull, / Vpon their VVoes, vvhom Fortune captiuates?
      • 1613, Samuel Purchas, “[Relations of the Regions and Religions in Africa.] Of Africa, and the Creatures therein.”, in Purchas His Pilgrimage. Or Relations of the World and the Religions Observed in All Ages and Places Discouered, from the Creation vnto this Present. [], 2nd edition, London: [] William Stansby for Henrie Fetherstone, [], published 1614, →OCLC, book VI (Of Ægypt, Barbary, Numidia, Libya, and the Land of Negros; and of Their Religions), page 558:
        Dabuh is the name of a ſimple and baſe Creature like a VVolfe, ſaue that his legges and feet are like to a mans: ſo fooliſh, that vvith a ſong, and a Taber, that vvhich they knovv his haunt vvill bring him out of his denne, and captiue his cares vvith their Muſicke, vvhile another captiuateth his legges vvith a Rope.
    2. (figuratively) To capture or control (the mind, etc.); to subdue, to subjugate.
  2. (figuratively) To attract and hold (someone's) attention and interest; to charm, to entrance, to fascinate.
    Synonyms: enchant, enamour


Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]



captivate (comparative more captivate, superlative most captivate)

  1. (also figuratively, obsolete) Made captive; taken prisoner; captured, subdued.


  1. ^ Compare “captivate, v.”, in OED Online Paid subscription required, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, July 2023.
  2. ^ captivate, adj.”, in Unabridged,, LLC, 1995–present, reproduced from Stuart Berg Flexner, editor in chief, Random House Unabridged Dictionary, 2nd edition, New York, N.Y.: Random House, 1993, →ISBN.





  1. second-person plural present active imperative of captīvō