tantalize

verb
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

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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

Genteel movie stars like George Clooney and Paul Rudd tantalize paparazzi with full, bushy beards. Adrian Bonenberger, The New Republic, "The Sum of All Beards," 4 June 2019 Meanwhile, Tony-winning costume designer Linda Cho delivered us tantalizing Edith Head–like costumes. Lilah Ramzi, Vogue, "Patricia Clarkson, Adrien Brody, and Debbie Harry Enjoy the Metropolitan Opera’s Opening Night Gala," 25 Sep. 2018 In one moment, Hopkins clenched his fist, his neck tendons went taut and out came all of his frustrations when a missed UNC shot sat tantalizing on the rim. Percy Allen, The Seattle Times, "Huskies’ magic dries up as North Carolina gives UW another early exit from NCAA tournament," 24 Mar. 2019 Allow Chef Eddy to surprise and tantalize you with his culinary creations. Hannah Seligson, Town & Country, "The Best Room At... Winvian Farm," 19 Feb. 2019 Ever since 2005, when the Cassini spacecraft discovered that Enceladus shoots geysers of liquid water 125 miles into space, the little icy moon orbiting Saturn has tantalized planetary scientists. Jay Bennett, Popular Mechanics, "Scientists Meet To Discuss Exploring Enceladus For Life," 28 June 2016 New Australian research offers a tantalizing promise–fiber optics that could make Internet speeds 100 times faster. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "New Fiber Optic Cable Could Make the Internet 100 Times Faster," 24 Oct. 2018 Hints of the old Tiger have tantalized fans and goosed TV ratings. Jason Gay, WSJ, "Will You Pay to Watch Tiger and Phil?," 23 Aug. 2018 After a year of tantalizing the press with their maybe IRL relationship, it was confirmed in May 2010. Hannah Orenstein, Seventeen, "27 Celebrities Who Dated Their Co-Stars IRL," 7 Dec. 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

Tantalus

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Last Updated

24 Jun 2019

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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

tantalize

verb

English Language Learners Definition of tantalize

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

tantalize

verb
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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