from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. Greek Mythology A king who for his crimes was condemned in Hades to stand in water that receded when he tried to drink, and with fruit hanging above him that receded when he reached for it.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- proper n. Mycteria, the genus of certain storks.
- proper n. A Phrygian king who was condemned to remain in Tartarus, chin deep in water, with fruit-laden branches hanging above his head; whenever he tried to drink or eat, the water and fruit receded out of reach.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. A Phrygian king who was punished in the lower world by being placed in the midst of a lake whose waters reached to his chin but receded whenever he attempted to allay his thirst, while over his head hung branches laden with choice fruit which likewise receded whenever he stretched out his hand to grasp them.
- n. A genus of wading birds comprising the wood ibises.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. [lowercase] A case containing decanters. It is locked so that the decanters are in plain sight, yet the contents cannot be removed without the owner's key.
- n. The leading genus of Tantalinæ, now generally separated into two.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. (Greek mythology) a wicked king and son of Zeus; condemned in Hades to stand in water that receded when he tried to drink and beneath fruit that receded when he reached for it
The name Tantalus, if slightly changed, offers two etymologies; either apo tes tou lithou talanteias, or apo tou talantaton einai, signifying at once the hanging of the stone over his head in the world below, and the misery which he brought upon his country.
She, like Tantalus, is placed in a situation where the intellectual blessing she sighs for is within her view; but she is not permitted to attain it: she is conscious of possessing equally strong mental powers; but she is obliged to yield, as the weaker creature.
Among the myriad objects mounted in his Brooklyn loft is a kinetic artwork by his younger brother, Chris, called "Tantalus Mackerel."
Did you ever hear the story of an ancient gentleman called Tantalus?
Staneholme, or to take the fee for the dowager lands of Eweford, and dwell in state in the centre of the stone and lime, and reek, and lords and ladies of Edinburgh; in part because I can hold out no longer, nor bide another day in Tantalus, which is the book name for an ill place of fruitless longing and blighted hope.
The thirst of Tantalus, which is eternal and unquenchable -- the pain of Tityus, upon whose liver the vulture forever preys -- were here realized upon a gigantic scale.
Might it be, perhaps, that sepia drawing -- above the 'Tantalus' on the oak sideboard at the far end -- of a woman's face gazing out into the room?
That universe’s Kirk had come back, found the secret of his great weapon—an alien device called the Tantalus Field, useful for making people vanish abruptly—had been compromised; in fact, given to Spock.
Also, as time went by, there arose a mountain house on Tantalus, to which the family could flee when the "sick wind" blew from the south.
Hosts of guests had known the comfort and joy of her mountain house on Tantalus, and of her volcano house, her mauka (mountainward) house, and her makai (seaward) house on the big island of Hawaii.