from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To annoy or pester; vex.
  • transitive v. To make fun of; mock playfully.
  • transitive v. To arouse hope, desire, or curiosity in without affording satisfaction.
  • transitive v. To urge persistently; coax: teasing their mother for more candy.
  • transitive v. To gain by persistent coaxing: "the New York editor who could tease great books from the unpromising woolly jumble of an author's first draft” ( Ian Jack).
  • transitive v. To deal with or have an effect on as if by teasing.
  • transitive v. To cut (tissue, for example) into pieces for examination.
  • transitive v. To disentangle and dress the fibers of (wool, for example).
  • transitive v. To raise the nap of (cloth) by dressing, as with a fuller's teasel.
  • transitive v. To ruffle (the hair) by combing from the ends toward the scalp for an airy, full effect.
  • intransitive v. To annoy or make fun of someone persistently.
  • n. The act of teasing.
  • n. The state of being teased.
  • n. One that teases, as:
  • n. One given to playful mocking.
  • n. A woman who behaves like a coquette.
  • n. A preliminary remark or act intended to whet the curiosity.
  • tease out To get by or as if by untangling or releasing with a pointed tool or device: "It takes a carefully trained expert to tease out the truth” ( Arthur Green).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To separate the fibres of a fibrous material.
  • v. To comb (originally with teasels) so that the fibres all lie in one direction.
  • v. To back-comb.
  • v. To poke fun at.
  • v. To provoke or disturb by annoying remarks and other annoyances.
  • v. To entice, to tempt.
  • n. One who teases.
  • n. A single act of teasing.
  • n. A cock tease; an exotic dancer; a stripper.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. One who teases or plagues.
  • transitive v. To comb or card, as wool or flax.
  • transitive v. To stratch, as cloth, for the purpose of raising a nap; teasel.
  • transitive v. To tear or separate into minute shreds, as with needles or similar instruments.
  • transitive v. To vex with importunity or impertinence; to harass, annoy, disturb, or irritate by petty requests, or by jests and raillery; to plague.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To pull apart or separate the adhering fibers of, as a bit of tissue or a specimen for microscopical examination; pick or tear into its sepa rate fibers; comb or card, as wool or flax.
  • To dress, as cloth, by means of teazels.
  • To vex, annoy, disturb, or irritate by petty requests, by silly trifling, or by jests and raillery; plague with questions, importunity, insinuations, raillery, or the like.
  • Synonyms Tease, Vex, Annoy, Molest, Badger, Pester, Bother, Worry, Plague, Torment. All these words either may or must refer to repeated acts; they all suggest mental pain, but of degrees varying with the word or with the circumstances; all except badger and molest may be used reflexively, but with different degrees of appropriateness, vex, worry, and torment being the most common in such use; the agent may be a person, or, except with badger, it may be a creature, events, circumstances, etc.; it would be clearly figurative to use tease when the agent is not a person; all except tease are always used seriously. Tease is not a strong word, but has considerable breadth of use: a child may tease his mother for what he desires; there is a great deal of good-humored teasing of friends about their matrimonial intentions; a fly may tease a dog by continually waking him up. Vex is stronger, literally implying anger and figuratively applying to repeated attacks, etc., such as would produce an excitement as strong as anger. In Shakspere's “still-vex'd Bermoothes” (Tempest, i. 2. 229), the use of vex is somewhat poetic or archaic, as is the application of the word to the continued agitation of the sea. Annoy has a middle degree of strength between tease and vex; a feeling of annoyance is somewhat short of vexation. We may be annoyed by the persistence of flies, beggars, duns, suitors, picket-firing, etc. Molest is generally a stronger word in its expression of harm done or intended, including the sense of disturbing once or often: some wild animals will not molest those who do not molest them. The next four words have a homely force—badger being founded upon the baiting of a badger by dogs, and thus implying persistence, energy, and some rudeness; pester implying similar persistence and much small vexation; bother implying weariness and perhaps confusion of the mind; and worry implying actual fatigue and even exhaustion. Plague and torment are very strong by the figurative extension of their primary meaning, although they are often used by hyperbole for that which is intolerable only by constant return: as, a tormenting fly. See exasperate and harass.
  • n. The act of teasing, or the state of being teased.
  • n. One who or that which teases; a plague.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. raise the nap of (fabrics)
  • n. the act of harassing someone playfully or maliciously (especially by ridicule); provoking someone with persistent annoyances
  • v. tear into pieces
  • v. ruffle (one's hair) by combing the ends towards the scalp, for a full effect
  • v. annoy persistently
  • v. harass with persistent criticism or carping
  • v. to arouse hope, desire, or curiosity without satisfying them
  • n. someone given to teasing (as by mocking or stirring curiosity)
  • v. mock or make fun of playfully
  • v. disentangle and raise the fibers of
  • n. a seductive woman who uses her sex appeal to exploit men
  • v. separate the fibers of


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Middle English tesen, to comb apart, from Old English tǣsan.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English tesen, from Old English tǣsan ("to tease"), from Proto-Germanic *taisijanan (“to separate, tug, shred”), from Proto-Indo-European *dāy- (“to separate, divide”). Cognate with Dutch tezen ("to pull, tug, scratch"), Danish tæse ("to tease"). Related to touse, tose.



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