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 In their absence, there is a thin bill of games that is anything but tantalizing. Rainer Sabin, Detroit Free Press, "Big Ten football predictions: Michigan, Illinois expected to continue surges," 31 Oct. 2019 The movie, which began filming in late 2016, was made mostly in England, and the digital effects bringing the Chicago World’s Fair to life tantalizes with its glimpses of a long-vanished, blindingly bright revolution in technology. Michael Phillips, chicagotribune.com, "’The Current War’ review: Benedict Cumberbatch’s Thomas Edison squares up against Michael Shannon’s George Westinghouse. And now we’re stuck with the electricity bill.," 22 Oct. 2019 That last detail never fails to tantalize onlookers. Jenni Marsh, CNN, "Why pro-democracy troublemaker Jimmy Lai is the only Hong Kong multi-millionaire standing up to China," 27 Aug. 2019 This runabout is aimed to tantalize younger buyers more attuned to cityscapes than suburban/rural areas. Frank A. Aukofer, Houston Chronicle, "2019 LEXUS UX 250h: Luxury hybrid comes with all-wheel drive," 14 July 2019 This could be the season Ingram’s tantalizing upside comes together. Damichael Cole, SI.com, "Ranking the 10 Best Players Available in 2020 NBA Free Agency," 16 July 2019 Ruggs showed off speed that will tantalize NFL teams on an 81-yard catch-and-run touchdown in the first quarter. Mike Rodak | Mrodak@al.com, al, "Tua Tagovailoa has career day in South Carolina, resets Alabama record book," 15 Sep. 2019 An art collective founded in Santa Fe, N.M., whose name came from words picked out of a hat, and which puts on immersive exhibitions that tantalize audiences with vivid visuals and storytelling that is magical, mysterious, or just downright weird. CBS News, "This week on "Sunday Morning" (August 4)," 1 Aug. 2019 Democrats have pined over Texas for decades, tantalized by the diversifying population and liberal lean of the state’s urban cores. Los Angeles Times, "In suburban Texas, ‘it feels like there’s no place for lifelong Republicans like me’," 13 Aug. 2019

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

11 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for tantalize

The first known use of tantalize was in 1597

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More Definitions for tantalize


How to pronounce tantalize (audio)

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 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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something of little or no value

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