a. Something that tempts or attracts with the promise of pleasure or reward: the lure of the open road.
b. An attraction or appeal: Living on the ocean has a lure for many retirees.
2. A decoy used in catching animals, especially an artificial bait used in catching fish.
3. A bunch of feathers attached to a long cord, used in falconry to recall the hawk.
tr.v. lured, lur·ing, lures
1. To attract or entice, especially by wiles or temptation: Customers were lured to the store by ads promising big discounts.
2. To recall (a falcon) with a lure.
[Middle English, from Anglo-Norman, of Germanic origin.]
Synonyms: lure, entice, decoy, tempt, seduce
These verbs mean to lead or attempt to lead into a wrong or foolish course: Lure suggests the use of something that attracts like bait: Industry often lures scientists from universities by offering them huge salaries. To entice is to draw on by arousing one's interests, hopes, or desires: The new arrivals were enticed by the state's sunny climate and decent salaries. To decoy is to trap or ensnare by cunning or deception: The partisans caused a disturbance to decoy the enemy patrol into a crossfire. Tempt implies an encouragement or an attraction to do something, especially something immoral, unwise, or contrary to one's better judgment: "the argument ... that options tempt [executives] to corrupt behavior that no decent shareholder would wish to profit from" (Michael Kinsley).
To seduce is to entice away and usually suggests the overcoming of moral resistance: "The French King attempted by splendid offers to seduce him from the cause of the Republic" (Thomas Macaulay).
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.