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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 tantalize
Historical Examples
  • I was disposed to tantalize my pursuer, and wear out his men.

    Breaking Away Oliver Optic
  • I caught a bit and a glimpse at a distance—just enough to tantalize me.

    Elsie Marley, Honey

    Joslyn Gray
  • 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
  • On the 27th, at daylight, a vessel was seen in the offing, as if to tantalize us.

  • But is not this to tantalize us by ordering us to do what we cannot do?

  • They were allowed enough to tantalize but not to satisfy them.

    Woman in Prison Caroline H. Woods
  • You forbid me to tantalize you with an invitation to Weston, and yet you invite me to Eartham!

  • And yet, when the tarts were divided among ten girls you just got enough to tantalize you.

    Anne Of Green Gables Lucy Maud Montgomery
British Dictionary definitions for tantalize


(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 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).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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