November 01, 2011
mesmerize (verb)
\MEZ-muh-ryze\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
1 : hypnotize2 : fascinate, spellbind
How do you use it?
Despite his initial boredom, Trevor became mesmerized by the poetry reading.
Are you a word wiz?

Like many other words we've told you about, "mesmerize" comes from a person's name. Who do you think is the namesake of "mesmerize"?

Franz Anton Mesmer was an Austrian doctor in the late 1700s with some unusual medical beliefs. He claimed that a mysterious fluid he called "animal magnetism" flows through all matter. His patients sat in a tub of dilute sulfuric acid, touched "magnetized" iron bars, and were tapped by Mesmer's wand. He would then let the animal magnetism flow from his body to his patient's. The effects of this treatment were found to be only in the patient's imagination. However, Mesmer had discovered -- or rediscovered -- the technique once known as "artificial somnambulism" and now known as hypnotism.
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