Esperanto Language Blog

How Tempting… Posted by on Nov 6, 2009 in Esperanto Language

An interesting synonym for the English verb “to tempt” is the word “tantalize.” It can mean “to tease,” but it also connotes some temptation – “tantalizing” refers to something that arouses want, mostly due to that something’s unattainable nature. The word itself comes from the name of the Greek trickster-hero Tantalus, whose skills in deception led the gods to punish him. The legends place him in Tantarus, a region of the underworld reserved for evil-doers; in his particular portion, Tantalus is placed in water that recedes from him when he attempts to drink it, and underneath a fruit tree whose branches dangle ever higher when he tries to procure some of its fruit.

My point is that “tantalize” is one of the cooler English verbs. You can use it as a way to remember the Esperanto word for “tempt.” In Esperanto, we use tenti as “to tempt,” or “to entice.” Phonetically, it’s similar to the name of Tantalus. So, if the lack of an immediate cognate trips you up, think of synonyms for “to tempt.” You’ll remember in no time!

La kuko cxokolada tentas min. – The chocolate cake tempts me.

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