Student Dictionary

One entry found for tantalize.
Main Entry: tan·ta·lize
Pronunciation: primarystresstant-schwal-secondarystressimacrz
Function: verb
Inflected Form(s): -lized; -liz·ing
Etymology: from Greek Tantalus, name of a king in mythology
: to tease or torment by or as if by presenting something desirable to the view but continually keeping it out of reach
- tan·ta·liz·ing·ly /-secondarystressimacr-zieng-lemacron/ adverb
Word History In Greek mythology, King Tantalus offended the gods, so they punished him in a truly terrible way. He was forced to stand in a lake whose water came up to his neck. But every time Tantalus became thirsty and bent over to drink, the water level dropped so that he could never reach it. Above his head were branches loaded with delicious fruits. Yet every time Tantalus reached up to take a fruit, the branches moved up out of reach, leaving him hungry. Thus, Tantalus was always in torment, and from his name comes the English word for tormenting or teasing someone in a similar way.

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