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Attract vs Allure vs Charm vs Fascinate vs Bewitch vs Enchant vs Captivate

Attract, allure, charm, fascinate, bewitch, enchant, captivate mean to draw another by exerting an irresistible or compelling influence over him. The same distinctions in implications and connotations are observable in the adjectival forms of these words, attractive, alluring, charming, fascinating, bewitching, enchanting, captivating.

Attract always implies a drawing of one thing to another either because of qualities or properties in the agent or because of an affinity in the one attracted for that which draws it or a susceptibility to its influence.

When used in reference to persons of different sexes, it suggests the arousing of strong admiration or the awakening of love or desire in the person attracted.

Allure implies not only attraction but enticement by something that is fair, pleasing, or seductive. It may, like lure, suggest enticement into evil or danger.

More often the stress is on the overcoming of resistance or indifference by the use of winning methods (as delicate flattery or the enhancement of feminine appeal) or by the bait of a pleasant prospect.

Charm implies a power in the agent to cast a spell over and so dominate the person or thing affected. In its commonest use charm implies a power to evoke or attract admiration, but it usually heightens that implication by retaining the suggestion of casting a spell over the senses or over the mind.

Fascinate, like charm, implies the casting of a spell, but it usually suggests the ineffectiveness of resistance or helplessness to escape from the one that fascinates.

Bewitch and enchant likewise imply the exertion of a magical influence; the former, in its literal sense, suggesting witchcraft, and the latter, sorcery but these implications are often either exceedingly weak or actually lost. Bewitch, in its commonest sense, implies the exertion of a power of fascination that causes another to succumb to one’s charms or allurements and to be under one’s domination.

Enchant, on the other hand, usually suggests a power to evoke joy or rapture or ecstatic admiration in the person fascinated.

Captivate is the weakest of these words in its suggestion of an irresistible influence or attraction. It implies a capturing of the fancy or feelings and a holding them in thrall for the time being, but it carries no suggestion of prolonged influence or of enslavement.