tan·​ta·​lize | \ ˈtan-tə-ˌlīz How to pronounce tantalize (audio) \
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

Other Words from tantalize

tantalizer noun

Did you know?

Pity poor King Tantalus of Lydia. The mythic monarch offended the ancient Greek gods. As punishment, according to Homer's Odyssey, 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 moved to get them, they would retreat from his reach. 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 Take every opportunity in April to tantalize all five of your senses! Meghan Rose, Glamour, 1 May 2022 Take every opportunity in April to tantalize all five of your senses! Meghan Rose, Glamour, 1 Apr. 2022 Europe’s most active volcano is now home to 180 wineries whose whose mineral-rich wines tantalize and delight. Livia Hengel, Forbes, 20 Jan. 2022 Beverage brands and fancy bartenders are crafting complex virgin cocktails and beers in an effort to tantalize the tastebuds of sober folks, temporary teetotalers, and the generally alcohol-averse. Wired Staff, Wired, 14 Jan. 2022 Indeed, her store is filled with about 20 under-the-radar chocolate brands that will tantalize your tastebuds. Debbi Kickham, Forbes, 30 Dec. 2021 Forcing Trump to face legal consequences for his actions, though, clearly continues to tantalize Democrats. David Rohde, The New Yorker, 15 Dec. 2021 Few of the companies that benefited as money poured in to the collection industry are willing to discuss the ecosystem of athlete autographs, which are used as a key way to tantalize customers. New York Times, 29 Oct. 2021 Of course, there are details that tantalize us with meaning, and then there are those that just seem incomplete. Arianna Rebolini, Vulture, 28 Oct. 2021 See More

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.

First Known Use of tantalize

1597, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

History and Etymology for tantalize


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The first known use of tantalize was in 1597

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Last Updated

21 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Tantalize.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tantalize. Accessed 28 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for tantalize


tan·​ta·​lize | \ ˈtan-tə-ˌlīz How to pronounce tantalize (audio) \
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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