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[tan-tl-ahyz] /ˈtæn tlˌaɪz/
verb (used with object), tantalized, 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.
Also, especially British, tantalise.
Origin of tantalize
1590-1600; Tantal(us) + -ize
Related forms
tantalization, noun
tantalizer, noun
untantalized, adjective
provoke, taunt, tempt; frustrate.
satisfy. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for tantalize
Historical Examples
  • Did God create beings in his own image, and then treat them as if he wished to tantalize them and render them unhappy?

    The Bible Of Bibles; Kersey Graves
  • He would not only draw the warriors on, but he would annoy and tantalize them.

    The Eyes of the Woods Joseph A. Altsheler
  • As for Di, she behaved perfectly, if she wished to fascinate and tantalize a flirt, such as Sidney Vandyke was said to be.

    Secret History Revealed By Lady Peggy O'Malley C. N. Williamson and A. M. Williamson
  • Has He, can He have created these unquenchable longings only to tantalize them?

    Union And Communion J. Hudson Taylor
  • You tantalize me to death with talking of conversations by the fireside.

  • I was disposed to tantalize my pursuer, and wear out his men.

    Breaking Away Oliver Optic
  • Our friends, the enemy, were now quick to tantalize our pickets with the defeat at Chancellorsville.

    War from the Inside Frederick L. (Frederick Lyman) Hitchcock
  • I caught a bit and a glimpse at a distance—just enough to tantalize me.

    Elsie Marley, Honey Joslyn Gray
  • Her companion's frequently repeated effort was to slow down for a talk; hers was to tantalize him by speeding away from one.

    Laramie Holds the Range Frank H. Spearman
  • You forbid me to tantalize you with an invitation to Weston, and yet you invite me to Eartham!

British Dictionary definitions for tantalize


(transitive) to tease or make frustrated, as by tormenting with the sight of something greatly desired but inaccessible
Derived Forms
tantalization, tantalisation, noun
tantalizer, tantaliser, noun
tantalizing, tantalising, adjective
tantalizingly, tantalisingly, adverb
Word Origin
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
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Word Origin and History for tantalize

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
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