[verb in-treeg; noun in-treeg, in-treeg]

verb (used with object), in·trigued, in·tri·guing.

verb (used without object), in·trigued, in·tri·guing.

to plot craftily or underhandedly.
to carry on a secret or illicit love affair.


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

Synonym study

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

Examples from the Web for intriguing

Contemporary Examples of intriguing

Historical Examples of intriguing

  • He is certainly an intriguing wretch, and full of inventions.

    Clarissa, Volume 1 (of 9)

    Samuel Richardson

  • Ramiro was to them the man that hired them; with his intriguing they had no concern.

    The Shame of Motley

    Raphael Sabatini

  • They have been intriguing for years—and nothing has happened.

  • He was still extremely outspoken in his dislike of "intriguing fellows."

    A Set of Six

    Joseph Conrad

  • I never saw this D'Hubert—a sort of intriguing dandy, I am told.

    A Set of Six

    Joseph Conrad

British Dictionary definitions for intriguing



arousing great interest or curiosityan intriguing mystery
Derived Formsintriguingly, adverb


verb (ɪnˈtriːɡ) -trigues, -triguing or -trigued

(tr) to make interested or curiousI'm intrigued by this case, Watson
(intr) to make secret plots or employ underhand methods; conspire
(intr often foll by with) to carry on a clandestine love affair

noun (ɪnˈtriːɡ, ˈɪntriːɡ)

the act or an instance of secret plotting, etc
a clandestine love affair
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 intriguing



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