Etymology
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tantalum (n.)
metallic element, 1809, Modern Latin, named 1802 by its discoverer, Swedish chemist Anders Ekberg (1767-1813), for Tantalus, according to Ekberg partly because of its inability to absorb acid recalled Tantalus' punishment in the afterlife (see tantalize). Sometimes it is said to be so called from the difficulty scientists faced in obtaining a pure specimen.
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fish-tank (n.)
1921 as an ornamental object, from fish (n.) + tank (n.).
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tanager (n.)
small American oscine bird, 1844, earlier tanagra (1610s), from Modern Latin tanagra, alteration of Portuguese tangara, from Tupi (Brazil) tangara, a bird name of uncertain meaning.
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tangerine (n.)
1842, from tangerine orange (1820) "an orange from Tangier," seaport in northern Morocco, from which it was imported to Britain originally. As an adjective meaning "from Tangier," attested from 1710, probably from Spanish tangerino. As a color name, attested from 1899.
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tangram (n.)
Chinese geometric puzzle, 1864, said to be an arbitrary formation based on anagram, etc. First element perhaps Chinese t'an "to extend," or t'ang, commonly used in Cantonese for "Chinese." Some suggest it is the name of the inventor, "but no such person is known to Chinese scholars" [OED]. Another theory involves the Tanka, an outcast aboriginal people of southern China, and Western sailors who discovered the puzzle from their Tanka girlfriends. Perhaps from an obscure sense of tram. The Chinese name is Ch'i ch'iao t'u "seven ingenious plan."
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tanist (n.)
"elected heir of a Celtic chief," 1530s, from Gaelic tanaiste "presumptive or apparent heir to a lord," literally "parallel, second," from Old Irish tanaise "designated successor," from Celtic *tani-hessio- "one who is waited for."
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tanner (n.2)
"sixpence," slang word first recorded 1811, of unknown origin. J.C. Hotten, lexicographer of Victorian slang, thinks it may be from tanner and skin, rhyming slang for "thin," presumably in reference to the smallness of the coin. Not to be confused with tenner, slang for "ten-pound note," which dates from 1861.
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tansy (n.)
perennial herb native to northern Eurasia, mid-13c., from Old French tanesie (13c., Modern French tanaisie), from Vulgar Latin *tanaceta (neuter plural mistaken for fem. singular), from Late Latin tanacetum "wormwood," from shortened form of Greek athanasia "immortality," from athanatos "immortal," from a- "not," privative prefix, + thanatos "death" (see thanatology). So called probably for its persistence. English folklore associates it with pregnancy, either as an aid to contraception or to provoke miscarriage.
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tantalize (v.)

"to tease or torment by presenting something desirable to the view, and frustrating expectation by keeping it out of reach," 1590s, with -ize + Latin Tantalus, from Greek Tantalos, name of a mythical king of Phrygia in Asia Minor, son of Zeus, father of Pelops and Niobe, famous for his riches, punished in the afterlife (for an offense variously given) by being made to stand in a river up to his chin, under branches laden with fruit, all of which withdrew from his reach whenever he tried to eat or drink. His story was known to Chaucer (c. 1369). Related: Tantalized; tantalizing; tantalizingly; tantalization.

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tantrum (n.)
1714, tanterum, originally colloquial, of unknown origin.
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