v. teased, teas·ing, teas·es
a. To make fun of (someone) playfully or taunt annoyingly: was teased by my classmates for being skinny; teased him about driving such a fast car.
b. To say in a playful or mocking way: "But you're too young to get married," he teased.
c. To provoke or irritate, as with physical movements: teased the cat by dangling a string in its face.
d. To arouse sexual desire in (someone) deliberately with no intention of having sex.
e. To urge persistently; coax: teased their mother to let them stay up late.
a. To disentangle and dress the fibers of (wool, for example).
b. To ruffle (the hair) by combing from the ends toward the scalp for an airy, full effect.
c. To raise the nap of (cloth) by dressing, as with a fuller's teasel.
d. To cut (tissue, for example) into pieces for examination.
e. To extract, identify, or cause to come about. Used with out: The director teased a good performance out of the actors. The researcher teased out the factors involved in the disease.
To annoy or make fun of someone persistently: I was just teasing.
1. An act of teasing, especially a playfully mocking remark: his tease of his friend's little sister.
2. One that teases, as:
a. A person who makes fun of or annoys others, as with playful or taunting remarks.
b. A flirtatious person.
[Middle English tesen, to comb apart, from Old English tǣsan.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.