: to tease or excite by or as if by showing, mentioning, or offering something desirable but keeping it out of reach <Annemarie always tried … to build up the suspense and tantalize her sister. — Lois Lowry, Number the Stars>
Word History of TANTALIZE
There was once, so Greek mythology tells us, a king named Tantalus who was not a good man. He murdered his own son and served him as food to the gods. For this the king was punished by being made to stand underneath a fruit tree in water up to his chin. If he bent his head to drink, the water got lower and he could not reach it. If he lifted his head to bite into a fruit, the bough went higher and he could not reach it. He was made miserable by food and drink kept just out of reach. The word tantalize comes from the name of this mythical king.