9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[tan-tl-ahy-zing] /ˈtæn tlˌaɪ zɪŋ/
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
1650-60; tantalize + -ing2
Related forms
tantalizingly, adverb
untantalizing, adjective
Can be confused
tantalizing, titillating.


[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.
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 tantalizing
  • The often truncated fragments that survive can be tantalizing.
  • They emerged with tantalizing clues, a scientific first, and lots of unanswered questions.
  • Preserved pigment cells in these six feather barbs lend tantalizing clues to color.
  • There are tantalizing hints that our universe has already survived such a collision-and bears the scars to prove it.
  • Mining the ocean is a tantalizing idea that never seems to die.
  • But the food predictions of yesterday are as tantalizing as ever.
  • Still, the glutamate system can give us a tantalizing glimpse.
  • Some tantalizing clues suggested otherwise, however.
  • Happily, the scientific method gives some tools to get some tantalizing glimpses of her incredible complexity and sublime beauty.
  • It makes for a dramatic read, but it also obscures a few tantalizing details.
British Dictionary definitions for tantalizing


(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 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).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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