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 keeping that good out of reach; to tease; to torment.
Thy vain desires, at strife
Within themselves, have tantalized thy life.
Syn. -- To tease; vex; irritate; provoke. -- Tantalize, Disappoint. To disappoint is literally to do away with what was (or was taken to be) appointed; hence the peculiar pain from hopes thus dashed to the ground. To tantalize, a much stronger term, describes a most distressing form of disappointment, as in the case of Tantalus, the Phrygian king. To tantalize is to visit with the bitterest disappointment -- to torment by exciting hopes or expectations which can never be realized.
© Webster 1913.