Definition of tempt in English:



  • 1Entice or attempt to entice (someone) to do or acquire something that they find attractive but know to be wrong or not beneficial.

    ‘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’
    ‘don't allow impatience to tempt you into overexposure and sunburn’
    • ‘Sometimes, he says, the bad spirits tempt him to do wrong.’
    • ‘They use low pricing to tempt people into drinking to excess.’
    • ‘His hair was rich and thick, tempting her to slide her hands through it.’
    • ‘Trips to country pubs, barbecues and parties often tempt people to drink alcohol when they would not otherwise normally do.’
    • ‘She tempts him to drink and he loses his precious manuscript.’
    • ‘Christ was tempted, yet he could not sin.’
    • ‘Their main goal in life is to entice and tempt men.’
    • ‘When drugs are easy to obtain, more people are tempted and seduced.’
    entice, persuade, convince, inveigle, induce, cajole, coax, woo
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1be tempted to do something Have an urge or inclination to do something.
      ‘I was tempted to look at my watch, but didn't dare’
      • ‘None of them were tempted to take a dip in the river.’
      • ‘Some clients were tempted to take out expensive loans to pay for private dental treatment.’
      • ‘I'm really tempted to buy it.’
      • ‘When something goes wrong, you're just tempted to buy a new one.’
      • ‘I was actually tempted to convince him to come back to the band.’
      • ‘I was nearly tempted to kill myself.’
      • ‘I was tempted to make fun of him.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I am always tempted not to contact friends who don't contact me.’
      • ‘Even smaller companies were tempted to reward clients with treats.’
      • ‘I am always tempted to revise more for my stronger topics.’
      • ‘There have been times when we were tempted to change location or expand.’
      • ‘We were tempted to return to our warm old hotel.’
      • ‘I am really tempted to steal his drinks.’
      • ‘They were tempted to walk out halfway through the performance.’
      • ‘I was tempted to stop for ice cream.’
      • ‘Hospital staff were tempted to give a name to the the unknown child.’
      • ‘You're always tempted to order pizza late at night.’
      • ‘I am tempted to lower my standards and do shoddy work.’
    2. 1.2 Attract; allure.
      ‘he was tempted out of retirement to save the team’
      • ‘Special offers are now so attractive they will certainly tempt tourists to our city.’
      • ‘The company is always looking to tempt users to replace their PCs when faster processors hit the market.’
      • ‘The firm tempted drivers to the town by offering attractive packages.’
      • ‘The star has been tempted out of retirement for a special show.’
      • ‘There are some delicious and healthy fruit drinks on the market that could tempt our children into good habits.’
      • ‘Alluring aromas tempt your taste buds as the baking cools.’
      • ‘The sight of mounds of watermelons and tender coconuts tempt you.’
      • ‘There are scores of intriguing recipes to tempt your clientele's palates.’
      • ‘The champion had been tempted out of retirement for one last fight.’
      • ‘Enticing descriptions on your menu tempt customers to try hot drinks.’
      • ‘Some product providers offer a very attractive rate to tempt new customers.’
      • ‘On this island, the tasty cuisine tempts.’
      • ‘This game looks fun enough to tempt me out of retirement.’
      • ‘This is a tale about a pious young soldier who is tempted and seduced by a beautiful woman.’
      • ‘After some persuading he has been tempted out to a nearby cafe for this chat.’
      • ‘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?’
    3. 1.3archaic Risk provoking (a deity or abstract force), usually with undesirable consequences.
      • ‘He claims you're always trying to tempt God with whiskey and cigars.’


  • tempt fate (or providence)

    • Do something that is risky or dangerous.

      • ‘I wouldn't like to tempt fate by saying I have been cured.’
      • ‘He is tempting fate by messing around with a very dangerous drug.’
      • ‘Odysseus tempts his fate and risks his life.’
      • ‘I should never have tempted fate by proudly declaring that I had never been suspended in my career.’
      • ‘It may be tempting fate to say it, but the trains have been running well these last few days.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      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’.