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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Tease \Tease\ (t[=e]z), v. t. [imp. & p. p. Teased; p. pr. & vb. n. Teasing.] [AS. t?san to pluck, tease; akin to OD. teesen, MHG. zeisen, Dan. t[ae]se, t[ae]sse. [root]58. Cf. Touse.]

  1. To comb or card, as wool or flax. ``Teasing matted wool.''

  2. To stratch, as cloth, for the purpose of raising a nap; teasel.

  3. (Anat.) To tear or separate into minute shreds, as with needles or similar instruments.

  4. To vex with importunity or impertinence; to harass, annoy, disturb, or irritate by petty requests, or by jests and raillery; to plague.

    He . . . suffered them to tease him into acts directly opposed to his strongest inclinations.

    Syn: To vex; harass: annoy; disturb; irritate; plague; torment; mortify; tantalize; chagrin.

    Usage: Tease, Vex. To tease is literally to pull or scratch, and implies a prolonged annoyance in respect to little things, which is often more irritating, and harder to bear, than severe pain. Vex meant originally to seize and bear away hither and thither, and hence, to disturb; as, to vex the ocean with storms. This sense of the term now rarely occurs; but vex is still a stronger word than tease, denoting the disturbance or anger created by minor provocations, losses, disappointments, etc. We are teased by the buzzing of a fly in our eyes; we are vexed by the carelessness or stupidity of our servants.

    Not by the force of carnal reason, But indefatigable teasing.

    In disappointments, where the affections have been strongly placed, and the expectations sanguine, particularly where the agency of others is concerned, sorrow may degenerate into vexation and chagrin.

    Tease tenon (Joinery), a long tenon at the top of a post to receive two beams crossing each other one above the other.


n. The act of teasing; making fun of or making light of. vb. (present participle of tease English)

  1. n. the act of harassing someone playfully or maliciously (especially by ridicule); provoking someone with persistent annoyances; "he ignored their teases"; "his ribbing was gentle but persistent" [syn: tease, ribbing]

  2. playful vexation; "the parody was just a form of teasing"

  3. the act of removing tangles from you hair with a comb [syn: comb-out]

  1. adj. playfully vexing (especially by ridicule); "his face wore a somewhat quizzical almost impertinent air"- Lawrence Durrell [syn: mocking, quizzical]

  2. arousing sexual desire without intending to satisfy it; "her lazy teasing smile"

  3. causing irritation or annoyance; "tapping an annoying rhythm on his glass with his fork"; "aircraft noise is particularly bothersome near the airport"; "found it galling to have to ask permission"; "an irritating delay"; "nettlesome paperwork"; "a pesky mosquito"; "swarms of pestering gnats"; "a plaguey newfangled safety catch"; "a teasing and persistent thought annoyed him"; "a vexatious child"; "it is vexing to have to admit you are wrong" [syn: annoying, bothersome, galling, irritating, nettlesome, pesky, pestering, pestiferous, plaguy, plaguey, vexatious, vexing]


Teasing has multiple meanings and uses. In human interactions, teasing comes in three major forms, playful, hurtful, and educative. Teasing can have a variety of effects, depending on how it is utilized and its intended effect. When teasing is playful and friendly, and especially when it is reciprocal, teasing can be regarded as flirting. When teasing is unwelcome, it may be regarded as harassment or mobbing, especially in the work place and school, or as a form of bullying or emotional abuse. If done in public, it may be regarded as humiliation. Teasing can also be regarded as educative when it is used as a way of Informal learning. Adults in some of the Indigenous American Communities often tease children to playfully illustrate and teach them how their behavior negatively affects the community. Children in many Indigenous American Communities also learn by observing what others do in addition to collaborating with them. Along with teasing, this form of informal learning is different from the ways that Western American children learn. Informal ways of child learning include mutual responsibility, as well as active collaboration with adults and peers. This differentiates from the more formal way of learning because it is not adult-oriented.

People may be teased on matters such as their appearance, weight, behavior, abilities, clothing, and intelligence. From the victim's point of view, this kind of teasing is often hurtful, irrespective of the intention of the teaser.

One may also tease an animal. Some animals, such as dogs and cats, may recognize this both as play or harassment.

Usage examples of "teasing".

He heard blood ebbing, flowing in veins, beckoning, a sweet seductress, teasing his senses until his craving was an obsession as dark and relentless as the shadow across his soul.

She glanced over her shoulder at him, teasing, enticing, without realizing her heart was in her eyes.

Dayan nibbled at her finger, his teeth teasing her, sending tiny flames dancing over her skin.

She was willing to provide the laughter for him, the teasing to ease the overpowering emotions.

It took a heartbeat or two to realize the predatory man with the slashing eyes was teasing her.

She was teasing, but the smile faded when he continued to look at her steadily.

His voice was teasing, a black-velvet melody that somehow played through her body and soul.

She was pushing aside his clothing, her hands finding the hard length of him, fingertips dancing and teasing, making intimate promises to him.

He bent his head again to find her mouth with his, at the same time inserting two fingers into her hot channel, stroking, teasing, matching the rhythm of her hips.

He bent his dark head so that his long hair slid over her skin like strands of silk, teasing every nerve ending into raw need.

Then he pleasantly accepted the good-natured masculine teasing directed at him.

When her tongue lightly caressed the arched curve of his upper lip, his hands came up and closed on her naked shoulders, and he drew the teasing tip into his mouth.

Dear God, she silently prayed, not all that generous warmth and beauty and teasing laughter dead.

His voice was husky, teasing, warm against her cheek as he brushed a kiss across her jaw.

The teasing light in his eyes compared favorably with radiant sunbeams.