Tantalus

noun
Tan·​ta·​lus | \ˈtan-tə-ləs \

Definition of Tantalus 

1 : a legendary king of Lydia condemned to stand up to the chin in a pool of water in Hades and beneath fruit-laden boughs only to have the water or fruit recede at each attempt to drink or eat

2 not capitalized : a locked cellarette with contents visible but not obtainable without a key

First Known Use of Tantalus

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for Tantalus

Latin, from Greek Tantalos

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about Tantalus

Statistics for Tantalus

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for Tantalus

The first known use of Tantalus was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Comments on Tantalus

What made you want to look up Tantalus? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

a soft lustrous wool fabric with mohair

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Late Autumn 2018 Words of the Day Quiz

  • frosted-autumn-leaves
  • Which is a synonym of yahoo?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!