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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 tantalization
Historical Examples
  • Rose had no idea of tantalization, or she would have held him a while in doubt.

    Shirley Charlotte Bront
  • That, she could imagine, would be a tantalization from which a sensitive woman might well wish to escape.

    The Precipice Elia Wilkinson Peattie
  • I didn't feel my finger-tips because I had the agitation, the flutter, the tantalization of looking at her.

    Romance Joseph Conrad and F.M. Hueffer
  • It was their second kiss and they both thrilled from head to foot with this tantalization of the hunger of their love.

    The Free Range

    Francis William Sullivan
  • He was aware that the deferring of a climax till it could be launched on a tide of tantalization was the chiefest of them.

    The Pursuit

    Frank (Frank Mackenzie) Savile
  • The main secret of Bulwer then reveals itself, like that of flirtation, to reside in the art of tantalization.

  • To live for a time among them would be a delight; to glance at them for a moment was tantalization.

    An American Girl Abroad Adeline Trafton
  • For a hungry guest to take this tantalization in good part, was the sure way to win the esteem of the noble Barmecide.

  • This gave them a little peep into the heavens, but was really only a tantalization.

British Dictionary definitions for tantalization


(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 tantalization



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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