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1. To separate something that has become entangled. A noun or pronoun can be used between "tease" and "out." My mother used a hairbrush to tease the knot out of my hair.
2. To gradually or incrementally extract or uncover a piece of information, as through careful analysis or probing. A noun or pronoun can be used between "tease" and "out." I was able to tease out the meaning of the film only after watching it again for the fourth time. After a lot of probing and coaxing, we finally teased an answer out of the boss.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
tease something out
Fig. to separate threads or hairs by combing. The hairdresser teased Jill's hair out carefully. The hairdresser teased out Jill's hair.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
Lure out, obtain or extract with effort, as in We had a hard time teasing the wedding date out of him. This term alludes to the literal sense of tease, "untangle or release something with a pointed tool." [Mid-1900s]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
To remove or obtain something by or as if by untangling or releasing with a pointed tool or device: I teased the knot out with a pair of tweezers. The interviewer teased the truth out of the politician.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs. Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.