Ask Difference

Hypnotize vs. Mesmerize — What's the Difference?

By Tayyaba Rehman & Fiza Rafique — Updated on April 25, 2024
Hypnotize involves inducing a trance-like state for therapeutic purposes, while mesmerize refers to capturing one's complete attention or fascination.
Hypnotize vs. Mesmerize — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Hypnotize and Mesmerize


Key Differences

Hypnotize typically involves a deliberate process aimed at guiding someone into a trance state for specific therapeutic or investigative purposes, such as in hypnotherapy. On the other hand, mesmerize may happen spontaneously, stemming from someone's intense allure or the compelling nature of something.
Hypnotize uses specific techniques and suggestions to achieve deep relaxation and heightened focus, making the subject more open to suggestions. Whereas mesmerize does not necessarily involve any techniques but is the result of an individual's charisma or something extraordinarily captivating.
In hypnotism, the subject’s awareness of their environment may be significantly reduced as they focus inwardly under the guidance of the hypnotist. Conversely, when mesmerized, individuals are usually fully conscious and hyper-aware of the object or person that is holding their attention.
Hypnotize can have a variety of applications in therapy, such as pain management, anxiety reduction, and behavior modification. Mesmerize, however, is generally used to describe situations in arts, public speaking, or other scenarios where captivating an audience is key.
While hypnotism requires a willing participant and a practitioner with some level of skill or training, mesmerizing can be performed by anyone or anything that inherently holds an extraordinary appeal, often without any intentional effort.

Comparison Chart


Inducing a trance-like state for a specific purpose, often therapeutic.
Capturing full attention, often through charm or intrigue.

Consciousness Level

Reduced, with focus directed by another.
Full, with heightened awareness of the subject of fascination.


Involves specific methods like verbal cues and visualization.
No specific techniques; relies on inherent qualities or actions.

Main Purpose

Therapeutic, such as altering behaviors or perceptions.
Engagement and captivation, particularly in arts or speeches.


Practitioner and participant.
Can occur spontaneously with or without a specific intent.

Compare with Definitions


To captivate or spellbind in a manner akin to hypnosis.
The speaker's words can hypnotize an audience into a reflective silence.


To bewitch or enchant someone.
Her dance performance mesmerized the audience.


To perform a hypnosis session.
He learned to hypnotize at a professional seminar.


To attract or charm someone irresistibly.
She has a presence that mesmerizes everyone she meets.


To influence or control someone's thoughts through hypnosis.
Hypnotize individuals often feel very relaxed and suggestible.


To capture and hold one's interest intensely.
The natural beauty of the landscape mesmerized the tourists.


To induce a trance state through techniques like suggestion or relaxation.
The therapist can hypnotize a patient to uncover forgotten memories.


To hold the attention of (someone) to the exclusion of all else or so as to transfix them.
The magician’s act mesmerized the crowd.


To use hypnosis for therapeutic purposes.
Doctors sometimes hypnotize patients to help them quit smoking.


To enthrall or fascinate someone completely.
His storytelling mesmerized both young and old listeners.


To put into a state of hypnosis.


To spellbind; enthrall
"The dance was subtle ... but at the same time it was sensual, and it mesmerized him" (Robert Rosenberg).


To fascinate by or as if by hypnosis.


To hypnotize.


(transitive) To induce a state of hypnosis in.


To exercise mesmerism on; to affect another person, such as to heal or soothe, through the use of animal magnetism.


To induce hypnotism in; to place in a state of hypnotism.


To spellbind; to enthrall.
She mesmerized the audience with her tricks


Induce hypnosis in


To bring into a state of mesmeric sleep; to hypnotize.


To produce an intense fascination in; to spellbind.


Attract strongly, as if with a magnet;
She magnetized the audience with her tricks


Induce hypnosis in

Common Curiosities

Is consent required to hypnotize someone?

Yes, ethical practice requires explicit consent from the individual before they are hypnotized.

What psychological states are induced by hypnotism?

Hypnotism induces a state of deep relaxation and heightened suggestibility.

Are there any risks associated with hypnotizing someone?

Hypnotism is generally safe, but inappropriate use can lead to negative psychological effects, especially if misused or administered by an unqualified person.

Can hypnotism be self-administered?

Yes, self-hypnosis is a practice where individuals hypnotize themselves, often using pre-recorded guides or through learned techniques.

Can animals be mesmerized?

Animals can be mesmerized by certain stimuli, though the process and effects differ from human psychological mesmerization.

Can mesmerizing occur without the person's awareness?

Yes, individuals can be mesmerized without being fully aware that their attention is so intensely focused.

How long does the effect of being mesmerized last?

The duration of being mesmerized can vary greatly, depending on the context and the individual's own psychological engagement.

What are common methods used in hypnotizing someone?

Common methods include voice-guided relaxation, rhythmic sounds, or visual objects like a swinging pendulum.

Can hypnosis alter long-term behavior?

Yes, hypnosis can be used to help modify long-term behaviors, such as quitting smoking or overcoming phobias.

Does being mesmerized affect one's memory?

While mesmerizing itself does not typically affect memory, intense focus on one aspect can temporarily make one less aware of other details.

What role does personality play in the susceptibility to hypnotism?

Personality traits such as openness to experience and suggestibility can influence how susceptible an individual is to hypnotism.

Are there cultural differences in how hypnotism and mesmerization are perceived?

Yes, cultural backgrounds can significantly affect how hypnotism and mesmerization are perceived and accepted, influenced by historical, social, and spiritual factors.

What types of performances commonly mesmerize audiences?

Performances that commonly mesmerize audiences include magic shows, captivating speeches, or exceptional musical performances.

How do people train to become professional hypnotists?

Professional hypnotists typically undergo specialized training in psychology and hypnosis techniques, often certified by professional bodies.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Tayyaba Rehman
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.
Co-written by
Fiza Rafique
Fiza Rafique is a skilled content writer at, where she meticulously refines and enhances written pieces. Drawing from her vast editorial expertise, Fiza ensures clarity, accuracy, and precision in every article. Passionate about language, she continually seeks to elevate the quality of content for readers worldwide.

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