The word "tantalize" comes from the plight of the mythological Tantalus, who so offended the gods that he was condemned in the afterlife to an eternity of hunger and thirst. He was made to stand in a pool in Tartarus, the Underworld zone of punishment. Each time he reached down for the water that beckoned to his parched lips, it drained away. Overhanging the pool were boughs laden with luscious fruit. But each time Tantalus stretched to pluck this juicy sustenance, the boughs receded from his grasp. For his crime, which may have entailed stealing ambrosia from the gods, this great sinner was tantalized indeed.