c. 1400, from Old French rivet "nail, rivet," from Old French river "to clench, fix, fasten," possibly from Middle Dutch wriven "turn, grind," related to rive (v.). The English word may be directly from Middle Dutch.
early 15c., from rivet (n.). Meaning "to command the attention" is from c. 1600. Related: Riveted; riveting.
The discovery of the skull riveted the paleontologists