c. 1200, of the devil, flesh, etc., "draw or entice to evil or sin, lure (someone) from God's law; be alluring or seductive," from Old French tempter (12c.), from Latin temptare "to feel, try out, attempt to influence, test," a variant of tentare "handle, touch, try, test." The Latin alteration is "explainable only as an ancient error due to some confusion" [Century Dictionary]. From late 14c. as "to provoke, defy" (God, fate, etc.). Related: Tempted; tempting.
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