[verb in-treeg; noun in-treeg, in-treeg]
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verb (used with object), in·trigued, in·tri·guing.
  1. to arouse the curiosity or interest of by unusual, new, or otherwise fascinating or compelling qualities; appeal strongly to; captivate: The plan intrigues me, but I wonder if it will work.
  2. to achieve or earn by appealing to another's curiosity, fancy, or interest: to intrigue one's way into another's notice.
  3. to draw or capture: Her interest was intrigued by the strange symbol.
  4. to accomplish or force by crafty plotting or underhand machinations.
  5. Obsolete. to entangle.
  6. Obsolete. to trick or cheat.
verb (used without object), in·trigued, in·tri·guing.
  1. to plot craftily or underhandedly.
  2. to carry on a secret or illicit love affair.
  1. the use of underhand machinations or deceitful stratagems.
  2. such a machination or stratagem or a series of them; a plot or crafty dealing: political intrigues.
  3. a secret or illicit love affair.
  4. the series of complications forming the plot of a play.

Origin of intrigue

1640–50; < French intriguer < Italian intrigare < Latin intrīcāre to entangle; see intricate
Related formsin·tri·guer, nounin·tri·guing·ly, adverbout·in·trigue, verb (used with object), out·in·trigued, out·in·tri·guing.un·in·trigued, adjectiveun·in·tri·guing, adjective

Synonyms for intrigue

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Synonym study

10. See conspiracy. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

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British Dictionary definitions for intrigue


verb (ɪnˈtriːɡ) -trigues, -triguing or -trigued
  1. (tr) to make interested or curiousI'm intrigued by this case, Watson
  2. (intr) to make secret plots or employ underhand methods; conspire
  3. (intr often foll by with) to carry on a clandestine love affair
noun (ɪnˈtriːɡ, ˈɪntriːɡ)
  1. the act or an instance of secret plotting, etc
  2. a clandestine love affair
  3. the quality of arousing interest or curiosity; beguilement
Derived Formsintriguer, noun

Word Origin for intrigue

C17: from French intriguer, from Italian intrigare, from Latin intrīcāre; see intricate
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 intrigue

1610s, "to trick, deceive, cheat" (earlier entriken, late 14c.), from French intriguer (16c.), from Italian intrigare "to plot, meddle," from Latin intricare "entangle" (see intricate). Meaning "to plot or scheme" first recorded 1714; that of "to excite curiosity" is from 1894. Related: Intrigued; intriguing (1680s, "plotting, scheming;" meaning "exciting curiosity" is from 1909).


1640s, probably from intrigue (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper