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Borrowed from Latin captīvō; synchronically analyzable as captive +‎ -ate.



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

  1. To attract and hold interest and attention of; charm.
    • Washington Irving (Can we date this quote?)
      small landscapes of captivating loveliness
    • 1918, W. B. Maxwell, chapter 3, in The Mirror and the Lamp:
      One saint's day in mid-term a certain newly appointed suffragan-bishop came to the school chapel, and there preached on “The Inner Life.”  He at once secured attention by his informal method, and when presently the coughing of Jarvis […] interrupted the sermon, he altogether captivated his audience with a remark about cough lozenges being cheap and easily procurable.
  2. (obsolete) To take prisoner; to capture; to subdue.
    • Shakespeare (Can we date this quote by Shakespeare and provide title, author's full name, and other details?)
      Their woes whom fortune captivates.
    • Glanvill (Can we date this quote?)
      'Tis a greater credit to know the ways of captivating Nature, and making her subserve our purposes, than to have learned all the intrigues of policy.

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