- 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
Examples from the Web for tantalise
And why do you tantalise me by making me dream of an unattainable perfection?In Brief Authority
"You begin by being heavenly to people—and then you tantalise them."Regiment of Women
They tantalise the fancy, but never reach the head nor touch the heart.Table-Talk
Surely, that sweet strain was not intended to tantalise him.The Maroon
You tantalise me to death with talking of conversations by the fireside.Charlotte Bronte and Her Circle
Clement K. Shorter
- (tr) to tease or make frustrated, as by tormenting with the sight of something greatly desired but inaccessible
Word Origin and History for tantalise
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).