Definition of intrigue in English:

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Pronunciation: /ɪnˈtriːɡ/
(intrigues, intriguing, intrigued)
1 [with object] Arouse the curiosity or interest of; fascinate: I was intrigued by your question
More example sentences
  • This of course was mildly interesting but what intrigued me was what if you used the values of Pi to create not letters but musical notes.
  • The Scottish lad whose family moved to Manchester was fascinated with Nazism and intrigued by sadism.
  • Most of all, I write about things that are important to me, that interest me, intrigue me, that cause a reaction in me.
interest, be of interest to, fascinate, be a source of fascination to, arouse someone's curiosity, engage someone's attention, attract, draw, lure, tempt, tantalize;
rivet, absorb, engross, charm, captivate;
divert, titillate
interesting, fascinating, absorbing, compelling, gripping, riveting, captivating, engaging, enthralling, diverting, titillating, tantalizing;
stimulating, thought-provoking
2 [no object] Make secret plans to do something illicit or detrimental to someone: Henry and Louis intrigued with the local nobles
More example sentences
  • The king and the president intrigued with the local representatives of white governments.
plot, hatch a plot, conspire, take part in a conspiracy, make secret plans, lay plans, scheme, manoeuvre, connive, collude, work hand in glove
rare complot, cabal, machinate


Pronunciation: /ɪnˈtriːɡ/
Pronunciation: /ˈɪntriːɡ/
[mass noun]
1The secret planning of something illicit or detrimental: the cabinet was a nest of intrigue
More example sentences
  • It's a tale of intrigue, dark secrets, and double crosses.
  • A tale of murder, bribery, betrayal and intrigue follows as the plot gathers pace and Solomon races to towards the finish line.
  • I hated this room, the atmosphere of backstabbing intrigue and devious plots and politics that hung overhead like a forthcoming tempest.
plotting, planning, conspiracy, collusion, conniving, scheming, machination, trickery, sharp practice, double-dealing, unscrupulousness, underhandedness, deviousness, subterfuge;
plot, scheme, stratagem, ruse, wile, artifice, manoeuvre
informal dirty tricks
rare complot, cabal, covin
1.1 [count noun] A secret love affair.
Example sentences
  • If you're one of the beautiful elite, summer is a fizzy whirl of suitors and intrigues and liaisons.
  • But while this is a satisfying central plot, the story is just as much about the accident-prone romances and intrigues of the rest of this likeable family.
  • With a rich history, including periods as a Greek and Roman colony, as well as the internal intrigues of ruling kings and their concubines, Istanbul nowadays is a colorful, eclectic melting pot of cultures.
secret love affair, affair, affair of the heart, liaison, amour, amorous entanglement, romantic entanglement, fling, flirtation, dalliance;
adultery, infidelity, unfaithfulness
informal fooling around, playing around, playing away, hanky-panky
British informal carryings-on, carry-on, bit on the side
2A mysterious or fascinating quality: within the region’s borders is a wealth of interest and intrigue
More example sentences
  • Ideally, that hobby is something you have chosen for its soothing qualities, its intrigue or its social opportunities.
  • A number of large Avens and Boulder Chambers add further intrigue to a fascinating area, which could almost qualify as a complete cave system in its own right.
  • In fact, few vegetables offer as much intrigue as the mysterious mushroom.



Pronunciation: /ɪnˈtriːɡə/
Example sentences
  • There one sees what Shakespeare saw: the absolute power of the tyrant, the courtiers, the flatterers, the jesters, the cunningly ambitious intriguers.
  • As to her being a political intriguer, she was if anything rather apolitical.
  • Double agents, intriguers, and power-seekers flourished, which was one of the reasons why much information about the Decembrists' conspiracy never reached responsible officials until it was too late.
conspirator, co-conspirator, conspirer, plotter, schemer, colluder, collaborator, conniver;
manipulator, exploiter
rare machinator, Machiavelli, Machiavellian, cabalist, intrigant(e)


Early 17th century (in the sense 'deceive, cheat'): from French intrigue 'plot', intriguer 'to tangle, to plot', via Italian from Latin intricare (see intricate). sense 1 of the verb, which was influenced by a later French sense ‘to puzzle, make curious’, arose in the late 19th century.

  • There is an intriguing link between intrigue and intricate (Late Middle English). Both ultimately derive from Latin intricare ‘to entangle, perplex’. Intricate came directly from the Latin word in the late Middle Ages, whereas intrigue lived an independent life, developing into Italian intrigare, which passed through French into English in the 17th century. The original English meaning was ‘to trick, perplex’. The modern sense ‘to arouse curiosity or interest’ dates only from the late 19th century and shows the influence of a later development in French.

Words that rhyme with intrigue

fatigue, Grieg, league, renege

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: in|trigue

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