means more than just ‘tease or torment’, as is shown by the word's origins in the treatment meted out to the legendary Phrygian king Tantalus, who was forced to stand in water which receded when he tried to drink and under branches that drew back when he tried to pick the fruit. The word is therefore best used when it retains an element of torment caused by something offered and then withdrawn, although this cannot always be as explicit or obvious as it was for Tantalus. It occurs most often in the adjectival form tantalizing or the adverbial form tantalizingly:

• Foremost among their key sources was a man whom the authors still tantalizingly refuse to name —Time, 1974

• There are tantalizing hints of a personal love story, but there is no development or continuity —J. Culler, 2000.

Modern English usage. 2014.

(by exciting hopes and refusing to gratify them), , , , , , ,

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Tantalize — Tan ta*lize, v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Tantalized}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Tantalizing}.] [From {Tantalus}: cf. F. tantaliser.] To tease or torment by presenting some good to the view and exciting desire, but continually frustrating the expectations by… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • tantalize — index bait (lure), interest, lure Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • tantalize — (v.) 1590s, from L. TANTALUS (Cf. Tantalus), from Gk. Tantalos, king of Phrygia, son of Zeus, punished in the afterlife (for an offense variously given) by being made to stand in a river up to his chin, under branches laden with fruit, all of… …   Etymology dictionary

  • tantalize — (Amer.) tan·ta·lize || tæntÉ™laɪz v. tease, provoke or tease by presenting something as available and then withholding it; expose someone to something inaccessible; annoy; criticize (also tantalise) …   English contemporary dictionary

  • tantalize — tease, harass, harry, *worry, annoy, plague, pester Analogous words: vex, *annoy, irk, bother: torment, torture, try, *afflict: *bait, badger Antonyms: satisfy …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • tantalize — [v] provoke, tease annoy, badger, baffle, bait, bedevil, beleaguer, charm, entice, fascinate, frustrate, gnaw, harass, harry, keep hanging*, lead on, make mouth water*, pester, plague, taunt, thwart, titillate, torment, torture, worry; concepts 7 …   New thesaurus

  • tantalize — (also tantalise) ► VERB ▪ torment or tease with the sight or promise of something that is unobtainable or withheld. DERIVATIVES tantalization noun tantalizing adjective. ORIGIN from Tantalus in Greek mythology, who was punished for his crimes by… …   English terms dictionary

  • tantalize — [tan′tə līz΄] vt. tantalized, tantalizing [< TANTALUS + IZE] to tease or disappoint by promising or showing something desirable and then withholding it tantalization n. tantalizer n …   English World dictionary

  • tantalize — UK [ˈtæntəlaɪz] / US [ˈtænt(ə)lˌaɪz] verb [transitive] Word forms tantalize : present tense I/you/we/they tantalize he/she/it tantalizes present participle tantalizing past tense tantalized past participle tantalized to make someone feel excited… …   English dictionary

  • tantalize — See tantalize, harass …   Dictionary of problem words and expressions

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