from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • intransitive verb To make fun of (someone) playfully or taunt annoyingly.
  • intransitive verb To say in a playful or mocking way.
  • intransitive verb To provoke or irritate, as with physical movements.
  • intransitive verb To arouse sexual desire in (someone) deliberately with no intention of having sex.
  • intransitive verb To urge persistently; coax.
  • intransitive verb To disentangle and dress the fibers of (wool, for example).
  • intransitive verb To ruffle (the hair) by combing from the ends toward the scalp for an airy, full effect.
  • intransitive verb To raise the nap of (cloth) by dressing, as with a fuller's teasel.
  • intransitive verb To cut (tissue, for example) into pieces for examination.
  • intransitive verb To extract, identify, or cause to come about. Used with out.
  • intransitive verb To annoy or make fun of someone persistently.
  • noun An act of teasing, especially a playfully mocking remark.
  • noun One that teases, as.
  • noun A person who makes fun of or annoys others, as with playful or taunting remarks.
  • noun A flirtatious person.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun The act of teasing, or the state of being teased.
  • noun One who or that which teases; a plague.
  • 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.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun colloq. One who teases or plagues.
  • transitive verb To comb or card, as wool or flax.
  • transitive verb To stratch, as cloth, for the purpose of raising a nap; teasel.
  • transitive verb (Anat.) To tear or separate into minute shreds, as with needles or similar instruments.
  • transitive verb To vex with importunity or impertinence; to harass, annoy, disturb, or irritate by petty requests, or by jests and raillery; to plague.
  • transitive verb (Joinery) a long tenon at the top of a post to receive two beams crossing each other one above the other.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

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

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

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