Word of the Day


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to attract or interest you so much that you do not notice or pay attention to anything else around you

Origin and usage

The first recorded use of the verb mesmerize dates from 1829. It was derived from the noun mesmerism, which was coined a few decades earlier to refer to a type of hypnosis introduced by an Austrian physician, Friedrich Anton Mesmer.


Although his methods were found to have no scientific basis, the practice of mesmerism introduced by the eponymous physician was wildly popular in the late 18th and early 19th centuries and eventually formed the basis of current techniques of hypnosis. The verb mesmerize was first used with the figurative meaning it has today in the 1860s, while the adjective mesmerizing was first used in this way in the early 20th century.


“I would watch Gonzalez play and he mesmerized you. It would be like looking into the flame of a fire.”
(Jimmy Connors)

“That’s the only music that was ever meant for me, That tantalizin’, hypnotizin’, Mesmerizin’ Mendelssohn tune.”
(Irving Berlin)

Related words

bewitch, captivate, enchant, enthral

View the full definition in the Macmillan Dictionary.

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Macmillan Dictionary

Macmillan Dictionary

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