verb (used with object), tit·il·lat·ed, tit·il·lat·ing.

to excite or arouse agreeably: to titillate the fancy.
to tickle; excite a tingling or itching sensation in, as by touching or stroking lightly.

Origin of titillate

1610–20; < Latin tītillātus, past participle of tītillāre to tickle; see -ate1
Related formstit·il·la·tion, nountit·il·la·tive, adjectiveun·tit·il·lat·ed, adjectiveun·tit·il·lat·ing, adjective
Can be confusedtantalizing titillatingtitillate titivate
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for titillation

excitement, stimulation, exhilaration, thrill, arousal

Examples from the Web for titillation

Contemporary Examples of titillation

  • But the genius of George Carlin comes when you get past the titillation and shock value.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Why George Carlin Deserves His Own Street

    Kevin Bartini

    October 21, 2014

  • You can experience the titillation of finishing something more than once every three to four years.

    The Daily Beast logo
    How I Write: Jonathan Lethem

    Noah Charney

    September 25, 2013

  • In Live Nude Girl, the theme shows up as the place where the titillation of nudity meets high art.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Live Nude Girl Bares All

    Lizzie Stark

    February 20, 2009

Historical Examples of titillation

  • Sliding down banisters, for instance, produces a titillation.


    Henry Stanton

  • This was an emotion that he had not enjoyed for many years, and it was not without its titillation.

    Jack and the Check Book

    John Kendrick Bangs

  • The sliding down bannisters produces a titillation which is agreeable to the sexual organs.

    Plain Talks on Avoided Subjects

    Henry Newell Guernsey

  • Every one has heard of tickling trout: the tench is almost equally amenable to titillation.

    The Gamekeeper at Home

    Richard Jefferies

  • But it was a decadent and blazé company, and something more piquant was needed for their titillation.

British Dictionary definitions for titillation


verb (tr)

to arouse, tease, interest, or excite pleasurably and often superficially
to cause a tickling or tingling sensation in, esp by touching
Derived Formstitillating, adjectivetitillatingly, adverbtitillation, nountitillative, adjective

Word Origin for titillate

C17: from Latin tītillāre
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 titillation

early 15c., "pleasing excitement," from Latin titillationem (nominative titillatio) "a tickling," noun of action from past participle stem of titillare "to tickle," imitative of giggling.



1610s, back-formation from titillation. Related: Titillated; titillating.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper