verb (used with object), tan·ta·lized, tan·ta·liz·ing.
- to torment with, or as if with, the sight of something desired but out of reach; tease by arousing expectations that are repeatedly disappointed.
- (tr) to tease or make frustrated, as by tormenting with the sight of something greatly desired but inaccessible
v.1590s, from Latin Tantalus, from Greek 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 which withdrew from his reach whenever he tried to eat or drink. His story was known to Chaucer (c.1369).