• synonyms


or tea·zel, tea·zle

[tee-zuh l]
  1. any of several plants of the genus Dipsacus, having prickly leaves and flower heads.Compare teasel family.
  2. the dried flower head or bur of the plant D. fullonum, used for teasing or teaseling cloth.
  3. any mechanical contrivance used for teaseling.
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verb (used with object), tea·seled, tea·sel·ing or (especially British) tea·selled, tea·sel·ling.
  1. to raise a nap on (cloth) with teasels; dress by means of teasels.
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Origin of teasel

before 1000; Middle English tesel, Old English tǣsel; akin to tease
Related formstea·sel·er; especially British, tea·sel·ler, nounun·tea·seled, adjectiveun·tea·selled, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for teasel

Historical Examples of teasel

  • All these Indians spin the thread, of which they make their nets, of a kind of teasel.

    The Conquest of the River Plate (1535-1555)

    Ulrich Schmidt

  • The teasel and sun and moon were emblematical of the chief staples of the place; the woollen trade and the mining interests.

  • In fact, 'the seal of the Port-reeve bears a church between a teasel and a saltire, with the sun and moon above.'

  • There were large rocks and tangled masses of brambles, and faded clumps of ragwort and teasel, and yellow bracken stumps.

  • The teasel (Dipsacus) was abundant, as were also several of the true thistles.

British Dictionary definitions for teasel


teazel or teazle

  1. any of various stout biennial plants of the genus Dipsacus, of Eurasia and N Africa, having prickly leaves and prickly heads of yellow or purple flowers: family DipsacaceaeSee also fuller's teasel
    1. the prickly dried flower head of the fuller's teasel, used for teasing
    2. any manufactured implement used for the same purpose
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verb -sels, -selling or -selled or US -sels, -seling or -seled
  1. (tr) to tease (a fabric)
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Derived Formsteaseller, noun

Word Origin for teasel

Old English tǣsel; related to Old High German zeisala teasel, Norwegian tīsl undergrowth, tīsla to tear to bits; see tease
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for teasel


Old English tæsel "large thistle used in teasing cloth," from Proto-Germanic *taisilo (cf. Old High German zeisala), from root of Old English tæsan "to pluck" (see tease (v.)).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper