- having or exhibiting something that provokes or arouses expectation, interest, or desire, especially that which remains unobtainable or beyond one's reach: a tantalizing taste of success.
Origin of 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.
Origin of tantalize
SynonymsSee more synonyms for tantalize on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for tantalizing
Madame Cézanne is ultimately about the figure in the portraits rather than the person, who remains a tantalizing enigma.Sight Unseen: Cézanne’s Mysterious Wife
November 19, 2014
She remembers, of course, being tantalized by the tantalizing opening breakdown scene.Eliza Coupe Finds Her ‘Happy Ending’ With ‘Benched’
October 28, 2014
In support of his assessment, he offers a number of tantalizing theories, only partially undergirded by fully explored evidence.The Myth of the Central Park Five
October 19, 2014
It requires something on the scale of an earthquake, which is why impeachment talk is so tantalizing.Pelosi to Boehner: I Quashed Impeachment, and So Can You
August 1, 2014
There are tantalizing snippets of love affairs and brief trysts—including a dalliance with Mick Jagger.Vogue Creative Director Grace Coddington’s Memoir Offers Few Revelations
November 20, 2012
Academy: As tantalizing a problem as was ever bound in cloth.Cleo The Magnificent
His wife's fine indifference was tantalizing, also instructive.Melomaniacs
The voice was almost as familiar to him as was his own, and yet it persisted in tantalizing his memory.Once to Every Man
I knew of nothing in the fishing game as tantalizing and despairing as this sight.Tales of Fishes
It had a familiar, tantalizing taste but he couldn't quite put a taste-finger on it.Acid Bath
- (tr) to tease or make frustrated, as by tormenting with the sight of something greatly desired but inaccessible
Word Origin and History for tantalizing
mid-17c., present participle adjective from tantalize. Related: Tantalizingly.
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).