- 1Entice or try to entice (someone) to do something that they find attractive but know to be wrong or unwise: there’ll always be someone tempted by the rich pickings of poaching [with object and infinitive]: jobs which involve entertaining may tempt you to drink more than you intendMore 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 dareMore 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.
- 1.2Persuade (someone) to do something: he was tempted out of retirement to save the team from relegationMore example sentences
- This game looks fun enough to tempt me out of retirement.
- They are tempting people in with the promise of exciting speakers or novelties.
- After some persuading he has been tempted out to a nearby cafe for this chat.
- 1.3 • archaic Risk provoking (a deity or abstract force), usually with undesirable consequences: how is it that ye have agreed together, to tempt the Spirit of the Lord?More 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: bike couriers tempt fate at every traffic lightMore 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.
Middle English: from Old French tempter 'to test', from Latin temptare 'handle, test, try'.