Dictionary > Tease

Tease

tease
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. (Science: anatomy) 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. (Macaulay)
Synonym: To vex, harass: annoy, disturb, irritate, plague, torment, mortify, tantalize, chagrin.
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. (Hudibras) 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. (Cogan) Tease tenon, a long tenon at the top of a post to receive two beams crossing each other one above the other.
Origin: AS. Tsan to pluck, tease; akin to OD. Teesen, MHG. Zeisen, Dan. Taese, taesse. 58. Cf. Touse.


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