- to torment with, or as if with, the sight of something desired but out of reach; tease by arousing expectations that are repeatedly disappointed.
Origin of tantalize
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for tantalize
I was disposed to tantalize my pursuer, and wear out his men.Breaking Away
I caught a bit and a glimpse at a distance—just enough to tantalize me.Elsie Marley, Honey
He would not only draw the warriors on, but he would annoy and tantalize them.The Eyes of the Woods
Joseph A. Altsheler
Campbell: "To tantalize me with your loveliness, your beauty, your grace, Amy!"Five O'Clock Tea
W. D. Howells
Has He, can He have created these unquenchable longings only to tantalize them?Union And Communion
J. Hudson Taylor
- (tr) to tease or make frustrated, as by tormenting with the sight of something greatly desired but inaccessible
Word Origin and History for tantalize
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).