April 22, 2012
fascinate (verb)
\FASS-uh-nayt\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
1 : to grip the attention of especially so as to take away the power to move, act, or think for oneself2 : to attract and hold by charming qualities
How do you use it?
I was fascinated by a nature program showing how some birds, such as crows, have the ability to use tools.
Are you a word wiz?

"Fascinate" comes into English from the Latin root word "fascinum." What does "fascinum" mean?

If you chose B, you're right! The Latin ancestor of "fascinate," "fascinum," means "evil spell," and the earliest use of "fascinate" in English meant "to cast a spell on" or "to bewitch." The earliest known appearance of this sense in print dates to the late 1500s. Like many English words, however, "fascinate" has mellowed with age. As time went on, "fascinate" lost its magic and came to refer to being held powerlessly transfixed by something. Later, its meaning softened again to mean more simply "to hold the attention of someone." Today, "fascinate" can also mean "to attract someone by charming qualities."
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