tease

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English[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Middle English tesen, from Old English tǣsan (to tease), from Proto-Germanic *taisijaną (to separate, tug, shred), from Proto-Indo-European *dāy- (to separate, divide). Cognate with West Frisian tiezje, tiizje (to baffle, perplex), Dutch tezen (to pull, tug, scratch), German zeisen (to pluck, pluck apart), Danish tæse (to tease). Related to touse, tose.

Verb[edit]

tease (third-person singular simple present teases, present participle teasing, simple past and past participle teased)

  1. To separate the fibres of a fibrous material.
  2. To comb (originally with teasels) so that the fibres all lie in one direction.
  3. To back-comb.
  4. To poke fun at.
  5. To provoke or disturb; to annoy.
    • Macaulay
      He [] suffered them to tease him into acts directly opposed to his strongest inclinations.
    • Hudibras
      Not by the force of carnal reason, / But indefatigable teasing.
    • 1907, Robert Chambers, chapter 8, The Younger Set[1]:
      “My tastes,” he said, still smiling, “incline me to the garishly sunlit side of this planet.” And, to tease her and arouse her to combat: “I prefer a farandole to a nocturne; I'd rather have a painting than an etching; … ”
  6. To entice, to tempt.

Derived terms[edit]

Translations[edit]

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Noun[edit]

tease (plural teases)

  1. One who teases.
  2. A single act of teasing.
  3. A cock tease; an exotic dancer; a stripper.

Synonyms[edit]

Translations[edit]

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