Definition of tease in English:

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Pronunciation: /tēz/


[with object]
1Make fun of or attempt to provoke (a person or animal) in a playful way: Brenda teased her father about the powerboat that he bought but seldom used [no object]: she was just teasing [with direct speech]: “Think you’re clever, don’t you?” she teased
More example sentences
  • Michael laughed slightly, teasing the dog by tapping him on the side of his head, and then pulling his hand away before the dog could playfully bite him.
  • I know it's silly but I've grown used to my quiet little life, pottering about the house and garden, teasing the cats and tending the plants.
  • A visit to the city zoo was not considered complete unless one teased a monkey and made it snarl or got it to throw back the banana or nuts thrown at it.
make fun of, poke fun at, laugh at, guy, make a monkey (out) of;
taunt, bait, goad, pick on;
deride, mock, ridicule
informal rib, josh, pull/yank someone's chain, razz
1.1Tempt (someone) sexually with no intention of satisfying the desire aroused.
Example sentences
  • Those behind the service claim it will let mobile users ‘flirt, tantalise and tease other mobile users by anonymous text messages’.
  • When she woke up I kissed and teased her.
  • Again, she kissed him, to tease him into state of fiery desire.
2Gently pull or comb (something tangled, especially wool or hair) into separate strands: she was teasing out the curls into her usual hairstyle
More example sentences
  • Chris teased the last few tangles out of his hair.
  • His gray-green eyes sparkled with laughter and mirth, as he slung an arm around Jess, his hand teasing her hair affectionately.
  • But, however one teases out the strands, the rug remains resolutely tangled.
2.1 (tease something out) Find something out from a mass of irrelevant information: a historian who tries to tease out the truth
More example sentences
  • In this article we have tried to tease the meaning out of just a few of the sounds that have either been ignored or dismissed as relatively unimportant.
  • ‘Collection’ is full of contradictions, though themes can be teased out.
  • These metaphors can be teased out in many different settings, and they talk about race in terms that are internally consistent.
2.2chiefly North American Comb (hair) in the reverse direction of its natural growth in order to make it appear fuller.
Example sentences
  • I replied, undoing my ponytail and teasing my hair to make it look a bit better.
  • Her short blonde hair was teased into a bouffant style, but her eyes were hidden by an elegant scarlet mask.
  • Her hair was teased in a messy bun on the top of her head.
2.3 archaic Comb (the surface of woven cloth) to raise a nap.
Example sentences
  • A fuller of cloth is one who prepares cloth, teasing and thickening it.


1A person who makes fun of someone playfully or unkindly.
Example sentences
  • Being an awful tease, I posted something there recently under the heading ‘The neocons were right!’
  • He's a bit of a tease, too, notes another nurse nearby.
  • Spring Break girls were a tease for the guys and an obvious embarrassment for the parents and grandparents, but it was certainly not a boom for any of the girls.
1.1A person who tempts someone sexually with no intention of satisfying the desire aroused.
Example sentences
  • You ask a lot of him in this role - drag, love scenes with men - and he's presented as a sex object and a tease for other men.
  • This woman is obviously a flirt and a tease who is looking to get into trouble.
  • No one wants to be labeled immediately as the cad, the slut, or the tease; no one wants to be taken advantage of or be seen as an opportunist.
1.2 [in singular] An act of making fun of or tempting someone: she couldn’t resist a gentle tease
More example sentences
  • If you are not offended by Iowa's pink locker room, it may be because you recognize a joke, a tease, and a riff.
  • My pa, watching from the terrace above, had this gentle tease: With all your shots, those nets are going to need repairing.
  • It started out as a joke, a tease, but then one by one, each of us succumbed to the spirit of V-day and quite pathetically, whined about wanting a boyfriend.



Pronunciation: /ˈtēziNGlē/
Example sentences
  • Motifs wander teasingly in and out of earshot, songs accelerate, reverse, jump off cliffs, collapse in on themselves.
  • He would refer to it teasingly or with innuendo until the 1970s.
  • The translation is often used teasingly among Chinese English speakers.


Old English tǣsan (sense 2 of the verb); related to Dutch teezen and German dialect zeisen, also to teasel. Sense 1 is a development of the earlier and more serious 'irritate by annoying actions' (early 17th century), a figurative use of the word's original sense.

  • When you tease someone you may ‘rub them up the wrong way’. This looks back to the original meaning of the word, since in Old English tease meant ‘to comb wool in preparation for spinning’. We still use the same idea when we talk of teasing out tangles in hair. The process was sometimes carried out using a dried, prickly flower head, which is where the plant the teasel (Old English) gets its name.

Words that rhyme with tease

Achinese, Ambonese, appease, Assamese, Balinese, Belize, Beninese, Bernese, bêtise, Bhutanese, breeze, Burmese, Cantonese, Castries, cerise, cheese, chemise, Chinese, Cingalese, Cleese, Congolese, Denise, Dodecanese, ease, éminence grise, expertise, Faroese, freeze, Fries, frieze, Gabonese, Genoese, Goanese, Guyanese, he's, Japanese, Javanese, jeez, journalese, Kanarese, Keys, Lebanese, lees, legalese, Louise, Macanese, Madurese, Maltese, marquise, Milanese, Nepalese, officialese, overseas, pease, Pekinese, Peloponnese, Piedmontese, please, Portuguese, Pyrenees, reprise, Rwandese, seise, seize, Senegalese, she's, Siamese, Sienese, Sikkimese, Sinhalese, sleaze, sneeze, squeeze, Stockton-on-Tees, Sudanese, Sundanese, Surinamese, Tabriz, Taiwanese, Tees, telegraphese, these, Timorese, Togolese, trapeze, valise, Viennese, Vietnamese, vocalese, wheeze

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: tease

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