• WordNet 3.6
    • v tantalise harass with persistent criticism or carping "The children teased the new teacher","Don't ride me so hard over my failure","His fellow workers razzed him when he wore a jacket and tie"
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • v.t Tantalise tan′ta-līz to torment by presenting something to excite desire, but keeping it out of reach
    • ***


Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
Tantalus, in Gr. mythology, who stood in Tartarus up to his chin in water, with branches of fruit over his head, the water receding when he wished to drink, and the fruit when he wished to eat.


In literature:

The few drops that fell upon his patiently protruded tongue served only to tantalise him.
"Philosopher Jack" by R.M. Ballantyne
The sinister muzzle seemed to be following him, tantalisingly menacing.
"Wilmshurst of the Frontier Force" by Percy F. Westerman
It is tantalising merely to view them from a distance.
"The Heart of Nature" by Francis Younghusband
Life has so many of these tantalising half-glimpses, which are never anything more.
"The Giant's Robe" by F. Anstey
The same veil of shy grace which had fallen upon her in the wood, was around her still, and tantalised him.
"The End of a Coil" by Susan Warner
She remained standing before him, helpless, tantalising, unapproachable, in her childlike dignity.
"Captain Desmond, V.C." by Maud Diver
It seemed a note of triumph, as if uttered to tantalise me!
"The Quadroon" by Mayne Reid
Perhaps she had a little insight into Mr Wentworth's feelings, and no doubt it was rather tantalising.
"The Perpetual Curate" by Mrs [Margaret] Oliphant
I never knew any thing so provoking, so tantalising!
"The Buccaneer" by Mrs. S. C. Hall
Tantalising snares To dull the brain with phantoms that are not.
"All About Coffee" by William H. Ukers

In news:

Tantalising evidence that intestinal bacteria can influence mood.
Girls Aloud reunite to tantalise fans with a glimpse of their new video.
Three years into the euro zone's debt crisis, Germany's finance minister hinted tantalisingly last week at a potential breakthrough.

In science:

Although this is so far only one example, it provides a tantalising suggestion that we may be able to directly link the properties of a star forming cluster on scales of 10–50 pc with those of more compact structures on scales of 0.1–1 pc.
Do stellar winds play a decisive role in feeding AGN?
The no(1) term here is (log n)O(log log n) which is tantalisingly close to best possible(?) logO(1) n.
An almost linear time algorithm for finding Hamilton cycles in sparse random graphs with minimum degree at least three
Recently, events observed at the highest energy of the Large Electron Positron Collider (LEP) at CERN in Geneva have given a tantalising hint that the Higgs particle might indeed have a mass around 115 GeV.
TESLA Technical Design Report Part I: Executive Summary
A particularly tantalising challenge of fundamental physics is posed by gravity, the interaction responsible for the large–scale structure of the universe.
TESLA Technical Design Report Part I: Executive Summary
Tevatron, but so far without success, though tantalising hints have been reported at LEP.
TESLA Technical Design Report Part I: Executive Summary