The Meaning of Intriguing: What It Is and How To Use It

Do you know the definition of intriguing? This article will provide you with all of the information you need on the word intriguing, including its definition, etymology, usage, example sentences, and more!

Your writing, at its best

Compose bold, clear, mistake-free, writing with Grammarly's AI-powered writing assistant

What does the word intriguing mean?

According to Merriam-Webster Unabridged English Dictionary and Cambridge English Dictionary, the word intriguing (pronounced ɪnˈtriːɡɪŋ) is an adjective that describes something that is very interesting, usually because it is unusual or mysterious.  This word can be used in both American English and British English. Many different things can mean intriguing, such as an intriguing possibility, intriguing finds, or an intriguing mystery. Try using this word of the day or other new words in a sentence today!

Many different languages also contain words that mean intriguing. You may notice that many of these words look similar to each other. These are called cognates, which are words that look, sound, and mean similar things across different languages. These are often formed when two words or languages share a common origin or ancestral language, such as Latin or Greek. This list of translations for the word intriguing is provided by Word Sense

  • Catalan: intrigant‎
  • Bulgarian: интригуващ‎
  • Dutch: intrigerend‎
  • French: fascinant‎
  • Hebrew: מְאַלֵּף‎
  • Norwegian: Forlokkende‎
  • Portuguese: intrigante‎
  • Spanish: curioso‎, fascinante‎, intrigante‎
  • Russian: интригующий‎, увлека́тельный‎, занимательный‎, пленительный‎, захватывающий‎
  • Mandarin: 吸引人‎
  • Hungarian: érdekes‎, érdekfeszítő‎
  • Italian: intrigante‎
  • German: faszinierend‎, fesselnd‎, interessant‎
  • Finnish: mielenkiintoinen‎, kiintoisa‎, kiehtova‎

How can the word intriguing be used in a sentence?

The word intriguing can be used in many different sentences and scenarios to refer to things and people that are interesting, particularly in a mysterious way. In this example, Melissa sees an intriguing face across the bar.

Jane: Who do you keep looking at?

Melissa: This guy at the end of the bar keeps making eyes at me,

Jane: Like in a creepy way? Do you want me to deck him for you?

Melissa: No, no, like in a good way. An intriguing way.

Jane: Ooooooh go work your magic!

Here, Melissa uses the word intriguing to mean that the person at the end of the car has caught her attention in a good way. She thinks that he is attractive and has an intriguing smile, and is interested in getting to know him more. In this next example, Melissa and Jane are at work.

Jane: Guess what.

Melissa: What’s up?

Jane: Fred is calling all of the junior sales managers into a meeting except me. 

Melissa: Ooh, intriguing. 

Jane: No, not intriguing! Bad, very bad!

Melissa: Jane, you have the highest sales of everyone. He’s probably berating them for being lower than you.

Jane: Man I hope so.

In this example, Melissa uses the word intriguing to describe the mysterious meeting that the sales manager has called between everyone except for Jane. This is a very suspicious meaning, but they are all interested to know what it is about. 

What are synonyms and antonyms for the word intriguing?

There are many different words that one can use in place of the word intriguing. These are called synonyms, which are words and phrases that have the same meaning as another word or phrase. Synonyms are useful to know if you are trying to grow your vocabulary as well as if you are trying to avoid repeating yourself. This list of synonyms for the word intriguing is provided by Thesaurus

  • inviting
  • attractive
  • engrossing
  • entrancing
  • gripping
  • lovely
  • engaging
  • fetching
  • riveting
  • alluring
  • luring
  • appealing
  • gracious
  • winning
  • enchanting
  • curious
  • compelling
  • fascinating
  • captivating
  • absorbing
  • pleasurable
  • stirring
  • provocative
  • magnetic
  • suspicious
  • striking
  • stimulating
  • puzzling
  • enthralling
  • beautiful
  • delightful
  • exotic
  • attracting
  • amusing
  • thought-provoking
  • tempting
  • interesting
  • bewitching
  • elegant
  • beguiling
  • charming
  • refreshing
  • desirable
  • affecting
  • unusual
  • impressive
  • intriguing
  • winsome
  • prepossessing
  • readable
  • exciting
  • arresting
  • siren
  • fine
  • exceptional
  • charismatic
  • arousing
  • pleasing

There are also many different words that mean the opposite of the word intriguing. These are called antonyms. Antonyms are also useful to know if you are trying to improve your vocabulary. This list of antonyms for the word intriguing is also provided by Thesaurus

  • driveling
  • repetitious
  • usual
  • archaic
  • vapid
  • trite
  • stuffy
  • lifeless
  • ho hum
  • prosaic
  • unvaried
  • tame
  • pointless
  • boring
  • arid
  • insipid
  • prolix
  • stupid
  • tedious
  • heavy
  • humdrum
  • drudging
  • routine
  • cloying
  • plebeian
  • spiritless
  • oft-repeated
  • colorless
  • dismal
  • familiar
  • dry
  • unexciting
  • drag
  • dead
  • stale
  • threadbare
  • uninspiring
  • tiring
  • plain
  • stock
  • tiresome
  • uninteresting
  • monotonous
  • commonplace
  • blah
  • dull
  • longwinded
  • hackneyed
  • out-of-date
  • wearisome
  • worn-out
  • tired
  • well-worn
  • drab
  • mundane
  • platitudinous
  • flat
  • common
  • irksome
  • stereotyped
  • interminable
  • dreary
  • soporific
  • run-of-the-mill
  • repetitive
  • unimaginative
  • prosy
  • hoary
  • ordinary
  • characterless
  • abused
  • moth-eaten
  • nothing
  • usual thing
  • zero
  • jejune
  • bummer
  • bromidic
  • nowhere
  • bomb
  • stodgy
  • big yawn

What is the origin of the word intriguing?

According to Etymonline, the word intriguing has been used as an adjective since the 1680s to mean plotting or scheming. This is from the present-participle of the verb intrigue. This word has been used to mean exciting curiosity since the year 1909. Related words to intriguing include intrigue and intriguingly.  The word intrigue has been used since the 1610s to mean to trick, deceive or cheat. This comes from the French intriguer and the Italian intrigare meaning to plot or perplex. These come from the Latin intricare meaning to entangle or perplex. This is also where we get the word intricate. This word has been used to mean to plot or scheme since the year 1714, and to mean to plot or scheme since the year 1714. Intrigue has been used to mean to excite curiosity since 1894. 

Overall, the word intriguing is an adjective that can be used to describe something that is exciting or interesting, particularly if it is mysterious. This word is of Latin origin and can be used in a variety of different scenarios and situations.