- 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 for tantalize on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for tantalising
Finally it attained the proportions of a mocking, tantalising demon.The Gaunt Gray Wolf
It was tantalising to get no more than hints into a character that interested me so much.The Moon and Sixpence
W. Somerset Maugham
How tantalising it was to the thirsty throats of those who watched it!The Voyages of the Ranger and Crusader
It was tantalising to see them feeding so quietly just out of my reach.Adventures in Africa
It was tantalising to watch them and not to be able to get hold of any.Peter the Whaler
- (tr) to tease or make frustrated, as by tormenting with the sight of something greatly desired but inaccessible
Word Origin and History for tantalising
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).