Meaning of “tease” in the English Dictionary

"tease" in British English

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teaseverb [ I or T ]

uk /tiːz/ us /tiːz/

tease verb [ I or T ] (MAKE FUN OF)

B2 to laugh at someone or say unkind things about them, either because you are joking or because you want to upset that person:

I used to hate being teased about my red hair when I was at school.
I was just teasing, I didn't mean to upset you.

More examples

  • Don't tease him about his weight - it's cruel.
  • He said he was going to leave us there, but I think he was only teasing.
  • They teased him mercilessly about his accent.

Phrasal verb(s)

teasenoun [ C ]

uk /tiːz/ us /tiːz/

someone who is always teasing people:

Johnny, don't be such a tease - leave your sister alone!

slang disapproving someone who enjoys causing sexual excitement and interest in people she or he does not intend to have sex with

(Definition of “tease” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"tease" in American English

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teaseverb [ I/T ]

us /tiz/

to intentionally annoy a person or animal by saying something that is not true or pretending to do something, often in a playful way:

[ T ] Don’t tease the dog by showing her the treat if you’re not going to give it to her.
[ I ] I was only teasing (= joking), I didn’t mean anything by it.

teasenoun [ C ]

us /tiz/

a person who likes to annoy other people by saying false things or pretending to do something

(Definition of “tease” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)