Word of the Day: tease

Word of the Day
May 23, 2016
tease (verb, noun)
/tiz/  sound icon
 
Lots of children get teased at school.
As a verb, tease means 'to annoy someone by making jokes or other comments about him/her' and you can also tease an animal by provoking it. It also means 'to tempt someone romantically or sexually without any real intention of satisfying that desire' or 'to fluff up hair by combing it from the end towards the top of the head.' It can also mean 'to separate wool or hair into separate strands, or pieces.' A person can be called a tease, especially if they are seen as tempting someone romantically or sexually.

 

Example sentences
 
When we were kids, my brother always used to tease me about my freckles.
Stop teasing that dog or it will bite you!
Jerry thought Nancy liked him because she had been flirting with him all night, but it turned out she was only teasing him.
The hairdresser spent a long time teasing Mary's hair to give it more volume.
The workers teased the wool so that it all lay straight.
Don't pay any attention to Jessica's comments. She's a tease, but she doesn't mean any harm.
Owen flirts with everyone, but he'd never cheat on his wife; he's such a tease!

 

Multi-word forms
 
tease something out of something: remove tangles or snags from wool or hair through patient and delicate manipulation. Example: "When I was a little girl, I had really long hair and my poor mother had to try to tease the tangles out of it every morning."
tease something out of someone: to patiently draw information out of someone. Example: "Bob didn't want to tell me he had a new girlfriend, but I knew he was hiding something and I eventually teased it out of him."
 
Did you know?
 
A related word is teaser, which is a short extract from a movie, TV show, or book designed to attract interest and make people want to know more. Example: "There were a lot more people pre-ordering the book after the newspaper published a teaser." 
 
Other forms
 
teasable (adjective), teasingly (adverb)
 
Origin
 
Tease dates back to before 1000; it comes from the Middle English word tesen and the Old English word tǣsan, meaning 'to pull, tear, or comb.' It is a cognate with the Middle Low German word tesen and Old High German word zeisan, meaning 'to pluck.'
 
 
 
 
 
Tease in other languages
 
 
 
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