of great interest or attraction; enchanting; charming; captivating: a fascinating story; fascinating jewelry.

Origin of fascinating

First recorded in 1640–50; fascinate + -ing2
Related formsfas·ci·nat·ing·ly, adverbhalf-fas·ci·nat·ing, adjectivehalf-fas·ci·nat·ing·ly, adverbqua·si-fas·ci·nat·ing, adjectivequa·si-fas·ci·nat·ing·ly, adverbun·fas·ci·nat·ing, adjective



verb (used with object), fas·ci·nat·ed, fas·ci·nat·ing.

to attract and hold attentively by a unique power, personal charm, unusual nature, or some other special quality; enthrall: a vivacity that fascinated the audience.
to arouse the interest or curiosity of; allure.
to transfix or deprive of the power of resistance, as through terror: The sight of the snake fascinated the rabbit.
Obsolete. to bewitch.
Obsolete. to cast under a spell by a look.

verb (used without object), fas·ci·nat·ed, fas·ci·nat·ing.

to capture the interest or hold the attention.

Origin of fascinate

1590–1600; < Latin fascinātus, past participle of fascināre to bewitch, cast a spell on, verbal derivative of fascinum evil spell, bewitchment
Related formsfas·ci·nat·ed·ly, adverbfas·ci·na·tive, adjectivehalf-fas·ci·nat·ed, adjectivequa·si-fas·ci·nat·ed, adjectiveun·fas·ci·nat·ed, adjective

Synonyms for fascinate

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for fascinating

Contemporary Examples of fascinating

Historical Examples of fascinating

  • Perhaps Cecilia was not so fascinating, but she was more attractive.

  • It's too romantic and fascinating for words—or to put into words.

    It Happened in Egypt

    C. N. Williamson

  • Yet the fascinating possibility is like a taste for drink, or the glamour of cards.

    Meadow Grass

    Alice Brown

  • I don't want you to take any trouble upon yourself, or to try to be fascinating.

    Little Dorrit

    Charles Dickens

  • He had great refinement of mind, broad ideas, and fascinating manners.

    My Double Life

    Sarah Bernhardt

British Dictionary definitions for fascinating



arousing great interest
enchanting or alluringa fascinating woman
Derived Formsfascinatingly, adverb


verb (mainly tr)

to attract and delight by arousing interest or curiosityhis stories fascinated me for hours
to render motionless, as with a fixed stare or by arousing terror or awe
archaic to put under a spell
Derived Formsfascinatedly, adverbfascination, nounfascinative, adjective

Word Origin for fascinate

C16: from Latin fascināre, from fascinum a bewitching


A person can be fascinated by or with another person or thing. It is correct to speak of someone's fascination with a person or thing; one can also say a person or thing has a fascination for someone
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for fascinating



1590s, "bewitch, enchant," from Middle French fasciner (14c.), from Latin fascinatus, past participle of fascinare "bewitch, enchant, fascinate," from fascinus "spell, witchcraft," of uncertain origin. Possibly from Greek baskanos "bewitcher, sorcerer," with form influenced by Latin fari "speak" (see fame (n.)).

The Greek word might be from a Thracian equivalent of Greek phaskein "to say;" cf. also enchant, and German besprechen "to charm," from sprechen "to speak." Earliest used of witches and of serpents, who were said to be able to cast a spell by a look that rendered one unable to move or resist. Sense of "delight, attract" is first recorded 1815. Related: Fascinated; fascinating.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper