- 1175–1225; Middle English temptacion < L temptātiōn- (s. of temptātiō) a testing. See tempt, -ation
- 1. the act of tempting; enticement or allurement.
- 2. something that tempts, entices, or allures.
- 3. the fact or state of being tempted, esp. to evil.
- 4. an instance of this.
- 5. (initial capital letter) the temptation of Christ by Satan. Matt. 4.
1. lure, attraction, pull, seduction, inducement.
A temptation is an act that looks appealing to an individual. It is usually used to describe acts with negative connotations and as such, tends to lead a person to regret such actions, for various reasons: legal, social, psychological (including feeling guilt), health, economic, etc. Temptation also describes the coaxing or inducing a person into committing such an act, by manipulation or otherwise of curiosity, desire or fear of loss.
Though at present used in many non-religious connotations, the term has implications deeply rooted in Judaism and the The Old Testament, starting with the story of Adam and Eve and the original sin. Many non-Western cultures had no precise equivalent until coming into contact with Europeans; for example, Jesuit missionaries in Brazil, translating the Lord's Prayer into Old Tupi, had to use the Portuguese word tentação, since Tupi had no word expressing "temptation" in that sense.