verb (used with object), tan·ta·lized, tan·ta·liz·ing.
  1. 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, tan·ta·lise.

Origin of tantalize

First recorded in 1590–1600; Tantal(us) + -ize
Related formstan·ta·li·za·tion, nountan·ta·liz·er, nounun·tan·ta·lized, adjective

Synonyms for tantalize

Antonyms for tantalize

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for tantalised

Historical Examples of tantalised

  • Dale's curiosity was so strong, that Hugh saw how dangerous it was to have tantalised it.

    The Crofton Boys

    Harriet Martineau

  • On Sunday they were tantalised with the hope of immediate succour.

    Our Sailors

    W.H.G. Kingston

  • Catherine tantalised them by withholding from them their prey.

    Tongues of Conscience

    Robert Smythe Hichens

  • This will, or at least may, induce him to snap: just as it would provoke a dog to do, if tantalised.

    Riding for Ladies

    Mrs. Power O'Donoghue

  • Your account of the London Institution has delighted and tantalised me.

British Dictionary definitions for tantalised



  1. (tr) to tease or make frustrated, as by tormenting with the sight of something greatly desired but inaccessible
Derived Formstantalization or tantalisation, nountantalizer or tantaliser, nountantalizing or tantalising, adjectivetantalizingly or tantalisingly, adverb

Word Origin for tantalize

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

Word Origin and History for tantalised



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