A juicy steak may titillate your taste buds, or sexy images in a foreign film may titillate your desire. Titillate means to excite someone's imagination, especially in a sexual way.

Titillate comes from a Latin verb that means "tickle," and that's what something that titillates does to the imagination. Today's media bombard you with images made to titillate, from video game heroines with extreme physiques to casual nudity on prime-time TV. But it doesn't have to be sex to titillate. A display of fabulous pastries in a bakery window can titillate your senses, or whispered rumors about your high school principal's past life as a rodeo queen may titillate your curiosity.

Definitions of titillate

v excite pleasurably or erotically

“A titillating story appeared in the usually conservative magazine”
Type of:
excite, shake, shake up, stimulate, stir
stir the feelings, emotions, or peace of

v touch (a body part) lightly so as to excite the surface nerves and cause uneasiness, laughter, or spasmodic movements

tickle, vellicate
Type of:
have or perceive an itch

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, Vocabulary.com can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.