May 20, 2016

Wordology, Tantalize

The word "tantalize" comes from the plight of the mythological Tantalus, son of Zeus who so offended the gods by stealing ambrosia that he was condemned in the afterlife to an eternity of hunger and thirst. He was made to stand in a pool in Tartarus, the Underworld zone of punishment. Each time he reached down for the water that beckoned to his parched lips, it drained away. Overhanging the pool were boughs laden with luscious fruit, but each time Tantalus stretched to pluck a juicy fruit, the boughs receded from his grasp.

Its meaning is to cause someone to feel interest or excitement about something that is very attractive, appealing, etc. It also means to tease or torment by presenting something desirable to the view. but continually keeping it out of reach.