Definition of intrigue in English:



  • 1[with object] Arouse the curiosity or interest of; fascinate.

    ‘I was intrigued by your question’
    • ‘Her pictures capture those around her, those who fire and intrigue her moral curiosity.’
    • ‘Yet the mention of sacrifice before brought to mind a story that intrigues me and seems to start to say something deeper than I have words to express.’
    • ‘Obviously these questions intrigue me as I have been on both ends of the equation.’
    • ‘He became intrigued by questions of reality in photography and later in cinema.’
    • ‘They were genuinely intrigued by the story and felt little need to elaborate on what already seemed so outlandish.’
    • ‘This is, however, a spicy and insightful version of a perennially intriguing story.’
    • ‘It's a question that intrigues conservatives, as much as it emboldens liberals.’
    • ‘So it's a very interesting story and I'm intrigued to know how it goes on.’
    • ‘However, there is still much to interest and intrigue viewers: the variety of style, technique and subject matter add to a diverse and engaging show.’
    • ‘She hasn't read any of Shaun's books but was intrigued by his story and the possible endings.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Finally, one interest that intrigues many people is your love of magic - where does that come from?’
    • ‘Most used color boldly, with unusual lighting and interesting brushwork to intrigue the viewer into guessing the mood and integrity of the subject.’
    • ‘Most of all, I write about things that are important to me, that interest me, intrigue me, that cause a reaction in me.’
    • ‘This peculiar narrator is perhaps one of the most intriguing elements of the story.’
    • ‘The Scottish lad whose family moved to Manchester was fascinated with Nazism and intrigued by sadism.’
    • ‘The resulting combination is what intrigues the filmmaker most.’
    • ‘I was intrigued by the stories, you see, and about how stories evolve.’
    • ‘The husband's role, and the sort of man he is, are intriguing parts of the story.’
    • ‘I was watching it at the end of a long and by turns fascinating and intriguing day yesterday.’
    interesting, fascinating, absorbing, compelling, gripping, riveting, captivating, engaging, enthralling, diverting, titillating, tantalizing
    stimulating, thought-provoking
    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
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  • 2[no object] Make secret plans to do something illicit or detrimental to someone.

    ‘Henry and Louis intrigued with the local nobles’
    • ‘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
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  • 1The secret planning of something illicit or detrimental.

    ‘the cabinet was a nest of intrigue’
    • ‘A tale of murder, bribery, betrayal and intrigue follows as the plot gathers pace and Solomon races to towards the finish line.’
    • ‘The play of politics, with its betrayal and intrigue and calculation and conspiracy, holds the common persons in thrall…’
    • ‘It is a stirring, brutal tale of conspiracy and intrigue, treachery and dissent, the overthrow of a hapless leader named Duncan.’
    • ‘This is a story of intrigue, conspiracy, heroism and romance - and a good deal of it true.’
    • ‘The change of premier was generally free of the apparent conspiratorial intrigue of December 1916.’
    • ‘It was, according to Balzac, a world in which talent counted for nothing, and bribery, intrigue and unscrupulousness were the key factors in success.’
    • ‘Hamlet is a political play rife with plotting, intrigue and spying.’
    • ‘There's no political intrigue, no plot twists and a near-total lack of cutscenes.’
    • ‘And it was one commingle of secrets, codes and intrigue that I came across, as I flipped pages upon pages of this wonderfully-written work.’
    • ‘He also discovers a nest of intrigue, decadence and a heathen willingness to murder people very casually if they get in your way.’
    • ‘The simmering tension between them is played out against the sweep of world events as Shanghai fears a Japanese attack and the city becomes a hotbed of political intrigue, secrets and desperation.’
    • ‘In a country ruled largely by man, not law, succession creates rare opportunities for political intrigue and policy change.’
    • ‘It's a tale of intrigue, dark secrets, and double crosses.’
    • ‘He needed somebody to trust in this morass of intrigue and double meaning that was called the royal court.’
    • ‘A hint of conspiracy and intrigue permeates the piece.’
    • ‘I hated this room, the atmosphere of backstabbing intrigue and devious plots and politics that hung overhead like a forthcoming tempest.’
    • ‘American football, on the other hand, is a game of intrigue, strategies and intellect.’
    • ‘With its formulaic plot of intrigue and power struggles, the current drama at Scottish Screen has been a source of much fascination for the Scottish press.’
    • ‘Four members of the family are remembered for their scheming and intrigue, including murder by poison.’
    • ‘At the same time American capitalism carried out its own ambitious counterrevolutionary intrigue, through the newly formed CIA as well as other agencies.’
    plotting, planning, conspiracy, collusion, conniving, scheming, machination, trickery, sharp practice, double-dealing, unscrupulousness, underhandedness, deviousness, subterfuge
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    1. 1.1[count noun]A secret love affair.
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The blather wears thin, as do the endless romantic intrigues.’
      • ‘The normally staid boardrooms of the country's big car makers have been rocked by allegations of bribery and sexual intrigue.’
      • ‘Personal enmity, property disputes, love intrigues, dowry and gain are the major reasons for murdering women.’
      • ‘Here the usual Rossini mix of disguises and love intrigues is given added complexity by the fact that there are no fewer than three women in love with the principal character.’
      • ‘If you're one of the beautiful elite, summer is a fizzy whirl of suitors and intrigues and liaisons.’
      • ‘Romances and intrigues shouldn't matter to anyone but myself and those involved.’
      • ‘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
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  • 2A mysterious or fascinating quality.

    ‘within the region's borders is a wealth of interest and intrigue’
    • ‘It's no fun to be old and alone and not be odd, to at least stir up conversation with an air of intrigue and mystery on the block.’
    • ‘At the moment, Shanghai is still seen by foreigners as a place of intrigue and mystery where they can experience a taste of Eastern life.’
    • ‘It's amazing how a few simple tweaks of a standard talent show format can add intrigue, suspense and interest.’
    • ‘There is a place deep within the Mornington Peninsula hinterland, a place shrouded in mystery and intrigue, a place where, as a child, I used to hide from the big bad world.’
    • ‘But for all the controversy, intrigue, and interest, you probably don't really even know what the memo says, do you?’
    • ‘Infer things in a vague and mysterious way: There's nothing that gets people more interested in you than intrigue.’
    • ‘Most important, the performance art intrigue of such a fascinating project is not to be missed.’
    • ‘On the contrary, they add to the allure of women and are image-altering - they can help to create an air of mystery or intrigue or even an air of authority or power.’
    • ‘This movie has it all: romance, mystery, intrigue, danger, and who can forget the airplane cutouts and midget mechanics.’
    • ‘I don't mind admitting that last year was a dark one, full of intrigue and mystery and exciting opportunities and all those other things which media and parents make out to be the stuff of youth.’
    • ‘They like secrets, intrigue and fantasy and we are going to talk to them through Bruno.’
    • ‘In fact, few vegetables offer as much intrigue as the mysterious mushroom.’
    • ‘The plot and intrigue don't come from a script, but from careful editing and control of the set.’
    • ‘Ideally, that hobby is something you have chosen for its soothing qualities, its intrigue or its social opportunities.’
    • ‘Politicians seem more riveted by party intrigue than by interest rates.’
    • ‘I like a bit of substance and depth to my characters, plot and general intrigue.’
    • ‘Their salon is in the space that was once the Spanish Kitchen, the site of one of Los Angeles' great and enduring tales of mystery and intrigue.’
    • ‘Mystery and intrigue still surround the crash, which claimed 35 lives, and today his family are still fighting for an official explanation for the accident.’
    • ‘Nothing reveals this more clearly than the sequence where Fred glides toward the darkness of a hallway with such intensity, fascination, intrigue and obsession.’
    • ‘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.’
    interest, preoccupation, passion, obsession, compulsion, captivation, enchantment
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Early 17th century (in the sense ‘deceive, cheat’): from French intrigue plot, intriguer to tangle, to plot, via Italian from Latin intricare (see intricate). intrigue, which was influenced by a later French sense ‘to puzzle, make curious’, arose in the late 19th century.