One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Resembling or reminiscent of the mythical giant Antaeus; specifically gaining strength from the earth.
Early 17th century; earliest use found in Richard Brathwait (?1588–1673), poet and writer. From Antaeus (classical Latin Antaeus, ancient Greek Ἀνταῖος), the name of a giant, son of Poseidon and Earth, who compelled all comers to wrestle with him, and gained renewed strength from contact with the ground + -like.
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