verb (used with object)

to entice or allure to do something often regarded as unwise, wrong, or immoral.
to attract, appeal strongly to, or invite: The offer tempts me.
to render strongly disposed to do something: The book tempted me to read more on the subject.
to put (someone) to the test in a venturesome way; provoke: to tempt one's fate.
Obsolete. to try or test.

Origin of tempt

1175–1225; Middle English < Latin temptāre to probe, feel, test, tempt
Related formstempt·a·ble, adjectivepre·tempt, verb (used with object)self-tempt·ed, adjectivesu·per·tempt, verb (used with object)un·tempt·a·ble, adjectiveun·tempt·ed, adjective

Synonyms for tempt

1. Tempt, seduce may both mean to allure or entice to something unwise or wicked. To tempt is to attract by holding out the probability of gratification or advantage, often in the direction of that which is wrong or unwise: to tempt a man with a bribe. To seduce is literally to lead astray, sometimes from that which absorbs one or demands attention, but oftener, in a moral sense, from rectitude, chastity, etc.: to seduce a person away from loyalty. 2. inveigle, induce, lure, incite, persuade.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for tempt

Contemporary Examples of tempt

Historical Examples of tempt

  • And to tempt him there was this new mystery, this knowledge that he could not miss.

  • That would be to tempt God: means as well as results are his.

    Weighed and Wanting

    George MacDonald

  • Magnificent was the day, indeed, and sorely did La Malne tempt us to a halt.

    The Roof of France

    Matilda Betham-Edwards

  • It was hard to dissemble still, to tempt him to say something that would madden me!

    Green Mansions

    W. H. Hudson

  • And now he just peeped in, to see if he could tempt me forth to play.

British Dictionary definitions for tempt


verb (tr)

to attempt to persuade or entice to do something, esp something morally wrong or unwise
to allure, invite, or attract
to give rise to a desire in (someone) to do something; disposetheir unfriendliness tempted me to leave the party
to risk provoking (esp in the phrase tempt fate)
Derived Formstemptable, adjectivetempter, noun

Word Origin for tempt

C13: from Old French tempter, from Latin temptāre to test
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 tempt

early 13c., from Old French tempter (12c.), from Latin temptare "to feel, try out, attempt to influence, test." Related: Tempted; tempting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper