Tease out

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To tease can mean to make fun of someone or to taunt someone with something without the intention of giving the item. Mainly in the United States it can also meant to brush one’s hair in order to give it more volume.

To tease out something is an idiom, usually used with an object, that means to sift through irrelevant items or information to find something of value. It can be used literally or figuratively and is usually associated with delicacy or great care. In the literal sense, this can be removing something with great care (e.g., the tangles that result from teasing one’s hair). Another definition, not listed in dictionaries, has become popular. To tease out something can be to give a hint or a sneak peek, usually of a movie or upcoming television episode.

In this phrase the verb tease may be conjugated through all its forms.


“We’re hoping that as the patterns emerge from sharks like Lydia, we’re able to tease out some of these aspects of the natural history of the animal that we just don’t know.” [CBC]

Using machine-learning techniques, such as affinity grouping and cohort analysis, mathematical anomalies can also be teased out. [Tech Target]

Spending time with those characters, however, not only created opportunities for all kinds of sexual liaisons but also allowed the producers to slowly tease out the details of Annalise’s personal life, which proved more layered than one might have guessed. [Variety]

A movie about class divisions writ large in a dystopian future could be great; a movie outlandishly unconcerned with teasing out any of those ideas, preferring simplistic action sequences, was far from it. [TIME]

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