Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To hold spellbound; captivate: The magic show enthralled the audience.
  • transitive v. To enslave.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To hold spellbound; to bewitch, charm or captivate.
  • v. To make subservient; to enslave or subjugate.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To hold in thrall; to enslave. See inthrall.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To reduce to the condition of or hold as a thrall or captive; enslave or hold in bondage or subjection; subjugate.
  • Hence To reduce to or hold in mental subjection of any kind; subjugate, captivate, or charm: as, to enthrall the judgment or the senses.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. hold spellbound

Etymologies

Middle English, to put in bondage : en-, causative pref.; see en-1 + thrall, slave; see thrall.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
en- + thrall ("to control another's mind, to enslave"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • And the interesting thing about the book, apart from its ability to enthrall, is that it hasn't really dated, or has dated only in inconsequential or charming ways.

    The Black Cloud by Fred Hoyle – review

  • I call that mind free which through confidence in God and in the power of virtue has cast off all fear but that of wrong-doing, which no menace or peril can enthrall, which is calm in the midst of tumults, and possesses itself though all else be lost.

    How to Succeed or, Stepping-Stones to Fame and Fortune

  • Or rather, he says that love is the opposite of orthodox tyranny, but the poem forces him to experience love as simply another and more complex kind of orthodox tyranny: the tyranny of that very tradition which he claims cannot "enthrall" the heart but which in killing Leila has melancholically bound him more firmly to it than it ever could have were she alive.

    Byron and Romantic Occidentalism

  • In the 16th century, the first known figurative use of "enthrall" appeared in the following advice, translated from a Latin text by Thomas Newton: "A man should not ... enthrall his credit and honour to Harlots."

    Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day

  • Asked about the show's master plan — lest it get bogged down in the number of Lost-style mysteries that enthrall and enrage fans — executive producer Eric Charmelo said he's got stories for "nine seasons — and then the triplet shows up."

    Ringer's Sarah Michelle Gellar: I'm Not Trying to Re-Create or Top Buffy

  • The world-building is excellent - enough details to enthrall without slowing the pace.

    Friday Book Club

  • Dessert Eagle, ready to enthrall us all with your daring tales of military adventures in some branch of the service?

    Think Progress » Inhofe calls Obama a great liar, says ‘most’ of State of the Union speech ‘wasn’t true.’

  • In the world of literature, Hispanic authors including Isabel Allende, Gabriel Marquez, and Jorge Luis Borges enthrall their readers with fascinating stories.

    Alan Murphy: Everyday

  • Animated movies just don't enthrall me the way they used to, at least not as often.

    Rabid Rewind: Igor

  • Four volumes of some truly gruesome tales that will enthrall me to no end, I'm sure.

    What's Your Fall Reading List Look Like?

Comments

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  • ... for so
    I formd them free, and free they must remain,
    Till they enthrall themselves ...

    Milton, Paradise Lost III

    December 18, 2006