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in·trigue (ĭntrēg, ĭn-trēg)
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n.
1.
a. A secret or underhand scheme; a plot.
b. The practice of or involvement in such schemes: seized the throne by intrigue.
2. A clandestine love affair.
v. (ĭn-trēg) in·trigued, in·trigu·ing, in·trigues
v.tr.
1. To arouse the interest or curiosity of: Hibernation has long intrigued biologists.
2. To effect or cause to be accepted or rejected by secret scheming or plotting: "Mr. Clay ... was intrigued out of the Presidential nomination" (Parke Godwin).
v.intr.
To engage in secret or underhand schemes; plot.

[From French intriguer, to plot, from Italian intrigare, to plot, from Latin intrīcāre, to entangle; see INTRICATE.]

in·triguer n.

Usage Note: The introduction of the verb intrigue to mean "to arouse the interest or curiosity of" was initially resisted by writers on usage as an unneeded French substitute for available English words such as interest, fascinate, or puzzle. Only 52 percent of the Usage Panel accepted this usage in 1968. Twenty years later, in 1988, 78 percent of the Usage Panel accepted it in the sentence The special-quota idea intrigues some legislators, who have asked a Washington think tank to evaluate it. By the 21st century, the use of intrigue as a verb had become completely unremarkable, and it is now firmly entrenched in the English lexicon.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 

Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices

    Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:

    Indo-European Roots

    Semitic Roots

    The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.

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