tantalize vs. amaze

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ding13

Member
HK Chinese
Hello, I am not sure if the two words would mean the same if "tantalized" is replaced with "amazed" in the following example.

Eg. Researchers are tantalized by the digital potential of carbon nanotubes, which are exceptional at conducting electricity and heat, and at absorbing or emitting light.

In the dictionary, tantalize is explained as,
(transitive) to tease or make frustrated, as by tormenting with the sight of something greatly desired but inaccessible.[wordreference]
or
to make someone feel excited or attracted by an offer or a suggestion of something that is, in fact, unlikely to happen[Cambridge]


Thanks!
 
  • Sparky Malarky

    Moderator
    English - US
    Tantalized and amazed do not mean the same thing.

    If you are tantalized by something, you want it.
    If you are amazed by something, it might be something impossible to possess, and, even if you can possess it, you don't want to.

    I was tantalized by the new iPhones. I wanted to buy one!
    I was amazed at the Grand Canyon. It is not for sale, and if it were I still wouldn't want to buy it.

    Researchers are tantalized by the digital potential of carbon nanotubes and they wish they could use them for their projects.
     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    To tantalize comes from Greek mythology: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tantalus
    Tantalus (Greek: Τάνταλος, Tántalos) was a Greek mythological figure, most famous for his eternal punishment in Tartarus. He was made to stand in a pool of water beneath a fruit tree with low branches, that he could not reach, and the water always receded before he could take a drink.
    It has the meaning of being [cruelly] teased by something that is tempting.

    "He is tantalized by the idea of being able to fly."

    OED
    a. to torment by the sight, show, or promise of a desired thing which is kept out of reach, or removed or withheld when on the point of being grasped/ b. figurative: To tease or torture into an artificial form.
    1860 J. Tyndall Glaciers of Alps i. iv. 36 The mirage..which so tantalized the French soldiers in Egypt.
    So you see, tantalize is nothing at all like "amaze".
     
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