a. A secret or underhand scheme; a plot.
b. The practice of or involvement in such schemes: seized the throne by intrigue.
- A clandestine love affair.
verbin·trigued, in·trigu·ing, in·trigues
- To arouse the interest or curiosity of: Hibernation has long intrigued biologists.
- 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 )
To engage in secret or underhand schemes; plot.
Origin of intrigue From
French intriguer to plot from
Italian intrigare to plot from
Latin intrīcāre to entangle
; see intricate
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.
- A complicated or clandestine plot or scheme intended to effect some purpose by secret artifice; conspiracy; stratagem.
- The plot of a play, poem or romance; the series of complications in which a writer involves their imaginary characters.
- Clandestine intercourse between persons; illicit intimacy; a liaison.
(third-person singular simple present intrigues, present participle intriguing, simple past and past participle intrigued)
- (intransitive) To conceive or carry out a secret plan intended to harm; to form a plot or scheme.
- To arouse the interest of; to fascinate.
- (intransitive) To have clandestine or illicit intercourse.
- To fill with artifice and duplicity; to complicate.
Origin See also: intrigué
Borrowing from French intriguer, from Italian intricare, from Latin intrīcō (“I entangle, perplex, embarrass”).