Definition of tempt in English:

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Pronunciation: /tem(p)t/


[with object]
1Entice or attempt to entice (someone) to do or acquire something that they find attractive but know to be wrong or not beneficial: don’t allow impatience to tempt you into overexposure and sunburn there’ll always be someone tempted by the rich pickings of poaching [with object and infinitive]: jobs that involve entertaining may tempt you to drink more than you intend
More example sentences
  • Sometimes, he says, the bad spirits tempt him to do wrong.
  • Their main goal in life is to entice and tempt men.
  • She tempts him to drink and he loses his precious manuscript.
1.1 (be tempted to do something) Have an urge or inclination to do something: I was tempted to look at my watch, but didn’t dare
More example sentences
  • Hospital staff were tempted to give a name to the the unknown child.
  • Some clients were tempted to take out expensive loans to pay for private dental treatment.
  • They were tempted to walk out halfway through the performance.
1.2Attract; allure: he was tempted out of retirement to save the team
More example sentences
  • Alluring aromas tempt your taste buds as the baking cools.
  • On this island, the tasty cuisine tempts.
  • The firm tempted drivers to the town by offering attractive packages.
allure, attract, appeal to, whet the appetite of;
lure, seduce, beguile, tantalize, draw
1.3 archaic Risk provoking (a deity or abstract force), usually with undesirable consequences.
Example sentences
  • He claims you're always trying to tempt God with whiskey and cigars.


tempt fate (or providence)

Do something that is risky or dangerous.
Example sentences
  • He is tempting fate by messing around with a very dangerous drug.
  • I reassured her that it worked fine, which was tempting fate.
  • She was convinced that if she signed a will, she'd be tempting fate.



Pronunciation: /ˌtem(p)təˈbilitē/
( rare)
Example sentences
  • The story of Adam and Eve tells of the imperfections and temptability of man.
  • Temptability and the ability to sin are part of being human.
  • Every Christian has their own areas of temptability.


Pronunciation: /ˈtem(p)təb(ə)l/
( rare)


Middle English: from Old French tempter 'to test', from Latin temptare 'handle, test, try'.

  • Tempt goes back to Latin temptare ‘to test, try’, which is the sense in the expression tempt Providence. To be unwise enough to test Providence, or your luck, is to invite misfortune. In the Middle Ages temptation was particularly used in relation to the biblical story, in the Gospel of Matthew, of Jesus being tempted to sin by the Devil when he spent 40 days in the wilderness. Modern temptations are generally more trivial urges to indulge yourself. In 1892 Oscar Wilde wrote: ‘I can resist everything except temptation’ (Lady Windermere's Fan). Attempt (Late Middle English) is from the same root.

Words that rhyme with tempt

attempt, contempt, dreamt, exempt, kempt, pre-empt

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: tempt

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