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SAT vocabulary: enthrall

SAT challenge vocab: enthrall
The girl reading the book appears to be enthralled.

enthrall

What does “enthrall” mean?

Part of Speech: VERB

Pronunciations: IPA: /ɛn.ˈθral/ Glossary-style: [ehn-THRAL]

Definition: captivate, charm, or interest greatly (Ex: The puppet show enthralled the children in the audience.). make a slave; enslave.

Example: Adults are sometimes disappointed when they re-read books that enthralled them as children because their experience of the books as adults can never match that of reading the books for the first time as young children.

Discussion: “enthrall” is another great word. It’s fun to pronounce, it’s got the raw, gut-force emotion of a Germanic word to it, and it connotes a time when Europe was populated with knights on horseback.

Why? Well, to me, at least, when I hear the word “enthrall”, I think of the related words “thrall” (a slave or serf) and “thralldom” (the state of slavery), which were more common in older English than they are today.

So that brings us to the word “enthrall”, which basically means to interest intensely. The idea is that the movie, book, conversation, or whatever has your attention is so captivating and compelling that it enslaves you, as if you are powerless, and you submit.

By Erin Billy

Founder of TestMagic, Inc. in San Francisco, USA.

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