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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 tantalized
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The nearness to the surface was meaningless; it only tantalized.

    The Moon is Green Fritz Reuter Leiber
  • This had tantalized Reginald more than he chose to avow, even to himself.

    Phoebe, Junior Mrs [Margaret] Oliphant
  • The soldiery were maddened and tantalized by the tactics of Alva.

  • For a few moments the captives had been tantalized with a hope of release.

  • The faculties have been tantalized by manifold, deceptive, agonies of thirst.

    Francis Beaumont: Dramatist

    Charles Mills Gayley
  • Tell me, Cary—tell me out of pity; I am too weak to be tantalized.

    Shirley Charlotte Bront
  • You shall be tantalized—it will do you no harm; you are not so weak as you pretend.

    Shirley Charlotte Bront
  • It was the girl who had tantalized him while they had been sitting on the rock.

    The Ranchman Charles Alden Seltzer
  • The man can not have the woman he wants and is tantalized by another woman who wants him.

    The Critical Game

    John Albert Macy
British Dictionary definitions for tantalized


(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 tantalized



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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