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[tan-tl-ahyz] /ˈtæn tlˌaɪz/
verb (used with object), tantalized, tantalizing.
to torment with, or as if with, the sight of something desired but out of reach; tease by arousing expectations that are repeatedly disappointed.
Also, especially British, tantalise.
Origin of tantalize
First recorded in 1590-1600; Tantal(us) + -ize
Related forms
tantalization, noun
tantalizer, noun
untantalized, adjective
provoke, taunt, tempt; frustrate.
satisfy. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for tantalised
Historical Examples
  • Dale's curiosity was so strong, that Hugh saw how dangerous it was to have tantalised it.

    The Crofton Boys Harriet Martineau
  • On Sunday they were tantalised with the hope of immediate succour.

    Our Sailors W.H.G. Kingston
  • Catherine tantalised them by withholding from them their prey.

    Tongues of Conscience

    Robert Smythe Hichens
  • This will, or at least may, induce him to snap: just as it would provoke a dog to do, if tantalised.

    Riding for Ladies Mrs. Power O'Donoghue
  • Your account of the London Institution has delighted and tantalised me.

    The Royal Institution Bence Jones
  • But in order to succeed with this lesson she must not be tantalised.

  • She received me haughtily; but then she was inconsistent: she tantalised as before.

    The Worlds Greatest Books Arthur Mee, J. A. Hammerton, Eds.
  • Of course she was puzzled and tantalised when the maid told her of the visitor.

    The Good Comrade Una L. Silberrad
  • The baffled creature, tantalised with the blood of his other victims, was ready to satiate its lust at last.

    "Unto Caesar" Baroness Emmuska Orczy
  • The party had been tantalised by threatening clouds, which never broke in rain.

British Dictionary definitions for tantalised


(transitive) to tease or make frustrated, as by tormenting with the sight of something greatly desired but inaccessible
Derived Forms
tantalization, tantalisation, noun
tantalizer, tantaliser, noun
tantalizing, tantalising, adjective
tantalizingly, tantalisingly, adverb
Word Origin
C16: from the punishment of Tantalus
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for tantalised



1590s, from Latin Tantalus, from Greek Tantalos, king of Phrygia, son of Zeus, punished in the afterlife (for an offense variously given) by being made to stand in a river up to his chin, under branches laden with fruit, all of which withdrew from his reach whenever he tried to eat or drink. His story was known to Chaucer (c.1369).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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