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.
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
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.