Definitions

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A stork of the genus Mycteria (formerly Tantalus), especially the American wood ibis, Mycteria americana.
  • n. A stand in which to lock up drink decanters while keeping them visible.
  • n. Something of an evasive or retreating nature, something consistently out of reach; a tantalising thing.

Etymologies

From Latin Tantalus, from Ancient Greek Τανταλος (Tantalos, "Tantalus"), a Phrygian king in Greek mythology who was condemned to stand in a pool of water which receded every time he tried to drink, and with overhanging branches of fruit which pulled back whenever he tried to eat. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The most common primate recorded by Barber et al. was baboon Papio anubis, with lower numbers of patas and tantalus monkeys (Cercopithecus patas and C. tantalus), and low numbers of black and white colobus monkeys Colobus guereza in the dry forest.

    Manovo-Gounda-St Floris National Park, Central African Republic

  • The Dumbocrats should run campaign adds featuring Pat Boone's Fruit-of-the-Loom commercials from the '70's and ask rhetorically, who is the "treat"? tantalus wrote on November 5, 2007 6: 41 AM:

    Election Central | Talking Points Memo | Kentucky GOP Pushing Anti-Gay Message In Final Days Of Gov Race

  • Julian went to the tantalus on the sideboard and poured himself a brandy to steady his nerves.

    Sepulchre

  • He towed her across the room, paused beside his desk to thrust the signal flags into a drawer, then towed her farther — to the tantalus.

    A Lady of His Own

  • A tantalus containing three kinds of spirit, all of a liqueur excellence, stood always on this table of luxury; but the fanciful have asserted that the whisky, brandy, and rum seemed always to stand at the same level.

    The Complete Father Brown

  • Visually quartering the room, he located the tantalus, crossed to it, poured a large measure of brandy into a crystal glass.

    The Perfect Lover

  • The groaning trees, tossed by the tempest, flung off showers of half-frozen flakes, that falling on her flaming cheeks failed to cool the fever of her suspense, while the yielding snow beneath her feet became a tantalus path, delaying her advance, and seeming to make more distant her suffering child.

    Lancashire Idylls (1898)

  • On the table, beside the lamp, was a tantalus and a glass, and a half empty syphon.

    The Motor Pirate

  • Carstairs made a gesture towards the tantalus on the table.

    Afterwards

  • "Pass the tantalus, Murray," the Tenant said, and the youngest of the four handed the corncob-corked bottle to the eldest.

    The Return

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