• mesmerize •
mez-mê-raiz • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Verb
Meaning: 1. Hypnotize. 2. Transfix, spellbind, enthrall.
Notes: This word has a large family of derivations. The nouns are mesmerism for the sense of hypnotism and mesmerization for the process. Someone known for his or her mesmerism is either a mezmerizer or a mesmerist, and the object of an act of mesmerism is a mesmeree, who is certainly mesmerizable. Anything related to Mesmer or mesmerism is mesmeric(al), and the adverb for this adjective is mesmerically.
In Play: Bright, shiny things are usually the cause of mesmerization: "Madelaine was mesmerized by the glitter and glamor of the bright lights of Las Vegas until she drove into one of the glittering signs." In literature, eyes are often charged with mesmerization: "Hermione's soft blue eyes so mesmerized Brewster that he couldn't speak."
Word History: Today's Good Word is a commonization of Franz Anton Mesmer (1734-1815), Austrian physician who developed a theory of animal magnetism and a mysterious body fluid which allows one person to hypnotize another. Mesmer, then, is the eponym of today's word, which has been commonized. (Let's offer a word of thanks to Rob Towart for finding today's mesmerizing Good Word and sharing it with us.)