tan·​ta·​lize | \ˈtan-tə-ˌlīz \
tantalized; tantalizing

Definition of tantalize 

transitive verb

: to tease or torment by or as if by presenting something desirable to the view but continually keeping it out of reach

intransitive verb

: to cause one to be tantalized

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Other Words from tantalize

tantalizer noun

Did You Know?

Pity poor King Tantalus of Phrygia. The mythic monarch offended the ancient Greek gods. As punishment, he was plunged up to his chin in water in Hades, where he had to stand beneath overhanging boughs of a tree heavily laden with ripe, juicy fruit. But though he was always hungry and thirsty, Tantalus could neither drink the water nor eat the fruit. Anytime he reached for them, they would retreat from him. Our word tantalize is taken from the name of the eternally tormented king.

Examples of tantalize in a Sentence

She was tantalized by the possibility of earning a lot of money quickly.

Recent Examples on the Web

Sip it slowly and let the flavors tantalize your palate. Mark Zeigler, sandiegouniontribune.com, "The World Cup works fine with 32 teams, but FIFA is about to ruin it," 13 July 2018 Tickets went on sale last week for tantalizing Latin acoustic rock duo Rodrigo y Gabriela, who are reportedly nearing the release of a new record. Aaron Davis, sacbee, "Three to see: Live music in Sacramento | The Sacramento Bee," 25 May 2018 The original pitch for HQ2 was tantalizing to mayors, governors, and real estate developers all across the land when it was released in September 2017. Matthew Yglesias, Vox, "The tragedy of Amazon’s HQ2 selections, explained," 9 Nov. 2018 One of the pleasures for the show’s fans between seasons has been watching for tantalizing details from the rare peeks at the show’s production. Kevin Kelleher, Fortune, "'Game of Thrones' Season 8 Has Ended Filming. Now a Winter of Waiting Begins," 9 July 2018 All the local teams have done since then was tantalize and tease. Author: Rick Maese, Anchorage Daily News, "Capitals, and Washington, celebrate a Stanley Cup victory decades in the making," 8 June 2018 And just to tantalize barbecue fans even more, two new faces have been added to the already considerable lineup of chef talent. Greg Morago, Houston Chronicle, "Southern Smoke tickets on sale July 10 at noon," 10 July 2018 Come summertime, chefs at Louisville restaurants adapt to our wish for light, refreshing fare with menu updates designed to tantalize overheated palates. Dana Mcmahan, The Courier-Journal, "How Louisville chefs re-imagine menus when you're just too hot to eat," 3 July 2018 It's recommended that beginners use simple loose black tea leaves, but enjoy the process of selecting an aromatic blend that tantalizes your senses. Aliza Kelly Faragher, Allure, "Your Essential Guide to Tasseography, the Practice of Reading Tea Leaves," 7 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'tantalize.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of tantalize

1597, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

History and Etymology for tantalize


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Statistics for tantalize

Last Updated

9 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for tantalize

The first known use of tantalize was in 1597

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More Definitions for tantalize



English Language Learners Definition of tantalize

: to cause (someone) to feel interest or excitement about something that is very attractive, appealing, etc.


tan·​ta·​lize | \ˈtan-tə-ˌlīz \
tantalized; tantalizing

Kids Definition of tantalize

: 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

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More from Merriam-Webster on tantalize

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with tantalize

Spanish Central: Translation of tantalize

Nglish: Translation of tantalize for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of tantalize for Arabic Speakers

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