What's in a Word | All Blogs


King Tantalus’ woes

By Debra Dobbins

“Tantalize” comes from the misfortune of the mythological King Tantalus.

After incurring the wrath of Greek gods, Tantalus was sentenced to stand in a pool of water up to his neck for eternity. When he bent down to drink it, the water would drain away. Furthermore, lush fruit hanging from a tree was just inches away from his face, but he could not quite reach that either. Thus, he was constantly thirsty and hungry, even though sustenance was nearby.

In its narrowest sense, tantalize means “to tease or disappoint by promising or showing something desirable and then withholding it,” according to Webster’s. In a broader, more common, sense, it simply means to tease. In the headline above, a good synonym for tantalizing is tempting.

For the article on how tantalizing the price of gold is these days, check out The Daily Sentinel’s website, print edition or e-edition.

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