Definitions for tantalusˈtæn tl əs
Random House Webster's College Dictionary
Tan•ta•lusˈtæn tl əs(n.)(pl.)-lus•es.
a legendary king of Phrygia who was condemned to remain in Tartarus, chin deep in water, with fruit-laden branches above his head: whenever he tried to drink or eat, the water and fruit receded out of reach.
(l.c.) a rack containing visible decanters secured by a lock.
(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
A stork of the genus Mycteria (formerly Tantalus), especially the American wood ibis, Mycteria americana.
A stand in which to lock up drink decanters while keeping them visible.
Something of an evasive or retreating nature, something consistently out of reach; a tantalising thing.
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.
Origin: Latin Tantalus, from Greek Τανταλος ‘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.
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
a genus of wading birds comprising the wood ibises
The Nuttall Encyclopedia
in the Greek mythology a Lydian king, who, being admitted from blood relationship to the banquets of the gods, incurred their displeasure by betraying their secrets, and was consigned to the nether world and compelled to suffer the constant pangs of hunger and thirst, though he stood up to the chin in water, and had ever before him the offer of the richest fruits, both of which receded from him as he attempted to reach them, while a huge rock hung over him, ever threatening to fall and crush him with its weight.