tease

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tease / tēz/ • v. [tr.] 1. make 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 | [intr.] she was just teasing | [with direct speech] “Think you're clever, don't you?” she teased. ∎  tempt (someone) sexually with no intention of satisfying the desire aroused. 2. [tr.] gently pull or comb (something tangled, esp. wool or hair) into separate strands: she was teasing out the curls into her usual hairstyle. ∎  (tease something out) fig. find something out from a mass of irrelevant information: a historian who tries to tease out the truth. ∎  comb (hair) in the reverse direction of its natural growth in order to make it appear fuller. ∎  archaic comb (the surface of woven cloth) to raise a nap. • n. inf. a person who makes fun of someone playfully or unkindly. ∎  a person who tempts someone sexually with no intention of satisfying the desire aroused. ∎  [in sing.] an act of making fun of or tempting someone: she couldn't resist a gentle tease. DERIVATIVES: teas·ing·ly adv.

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