Definition of tempt in English:



  • 1 Entice 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 intend’
    • ‘Their main goal in life is to entice and tempt men.’
    • ‘His hair was rich and thick, tempting her to slide her hands through it.’
    • ‘Christ was tempted, yet he could not sin.’
    • ‘They use low pricing to tempt people into drinking to excess.’
    • ‘Trips to country pubs, barbecues and parties often tempt people to drink alcohol when they would not otherwise normally do.’
    • ‘When drugs are easy to obtain, more people are tempted and seduced.’
    • ‘Sometimes, he says, the bad spirits tempt him to do wrong.’
    • ‘She tempts him to drink and he loses his precious manuscript.’
    entice, persuade, convince, inveigle, induce, cajole, coax, woo
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Have an urge or inclination to do something.
      ‘I was tempted to look at my watch, but didn't dare’
      • ‘I was tempted to make fun of him.’
      • ‘I was nearly tempted to kill myself.’
      • ‘None of them were tempted to take a dip in the river.’
      • ‘Hospital staff were tempted to give a name to the the unknown child.’
      • ‘When something goes wrong, you're just tempted to buy a new one.’
      • ‘I am always tempted not to contact friends who don't contact me.’
      • ‘I am really tempted to steal his drinks.’
      • ‘I am always tempted to revise more for my stronger topics.’
      • ‘I have to admit that I was nearly tempted to get involved in a couple, but I did not.’
      • ‘I was tempted to just head home.’
      • ‘You're always tempted to order pizza late at night.’
      • ‘We were tempted to return to our warm old hotel.’
      • ‘I'm really tempted to buy it.’
      • ‘I am tempted to lower my standards and do shoddy work.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Even smaller companies were tempted to reward clients with treats.’
      • ‘I was tempted to stop for ice cream.’
      • ‘I was actually tempted to convince him to come back to the band.’
      • ‘There have been times when we were tempted to change location or expand.’
    2. 1.2Persuade (someone) to do something.
      ‘he was tempted out of retirement to save the team from relegation’
      • ‘This game looks fun enough to tempt me out of retirement.’
      • ‘They are tempting people in with the promise of exciting speakers or novelties.’
      • ‘Will the proposed financial and lifestyle benefits prove enough to tempt workers to a rural idyll?’
      • ‘The company is always looking to tempt users to replace their PCs when faster processors hit the market.’
      • ‘The champion had been tempted out of retirement for one last fight.’
      • ‘The star has been tempted out of retirement for a special show.’
      • ‘After some persuading he has been tempted out to a nearby cafe for this chat.’
    3. 1.3archaic 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?’
      • ‘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 light’
      • ‘He is tempting fate by messing around with a very dangerous drug.’
      • ‘I don't want to tempt fate, but my sore throat appears to have gone.’
      • ‘The team tempts fate by planning a victory celebration before a ball has been kicked.’
      • ‘I should never have tempted fate by proudly declaring that I had never been suspended in my career.’
      • ‘Odysseus tempts his fate and risks his life.’
      • ‘I wouldn't like to tempt fate by saying I have been cured.’
      • ‘She was convinced that if she signed a will, she'd be tempting fate.’
      • ‘I reassured her that it worked fine, which was tempting fate.’
      • ‘It may be tempting fate to say it, but the trains have been running well these last few days.’
      run a risk, live dangerously, play with fire, sail close to the wind, risk it
      View synonyms


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