[ tee ]
/ ti /


  1. Also called teeing ground. the starting place, usually a hard mound of earth, at the beginning of play for each hole.
  2. a small wooden, plastic, metal, or rubber peg from which the ball is driven, as in teeing off.
Football. a device on which the ball may be placed to raise it off the ground preparatory to kicking.

verb (used with object), teed, tee·ing.

Golf. to place (the ball) on a tee.

Verb Phrases

tee off,
  1. Golf. to strike the ball from a tee.
  2. Slang. to reprimand severely; scold: He teed off on his son for wrecking the car.
  3. Informal. to begin: They teed off the program with a medley of songs.
  4. Baseball, Softball. to make many runs and hits, especially extra-base hits: teeing off for six runs on eight hits, including three doubles and a home run.
  5. Baseball, Softball. to hit (a pitched ball) hard and far: He teed off on a fastball and drove it into the bleachers.
  6. Boxing. to strike with a powerful blow, especially to the head: He teed off on his opponent with an overhand right.
  7. Slang. to make angry, irritated, or disgusted: She was teed off because her dinner guests were late.



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Origin of tee

First recorded in 1665–75; origin uncertain
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

British Dictionary definitions for tee off (1 of 4)

tee off

verb (adverb)

golf to strike (the ball) from a tee, as when starting a hole
informal to begin; start

British Dictionary definitions for tee off (2 of 4)

/ (tiː) /


a pipe fitting in the form of a letter T, used to join three pipes
a metal section with a cross section in the form of a letter T, such as a rolled-steel joist
any part or component shaped like a T

British Dictionary definitions for tee off (3 of 4)

/ (tiː) golf /


Also called: teeing ground an area, often slightly elevated, from which the first stroke of a hole is made
a support for a golf ball, usually a small wooden or plastic peg, used when teeing off or in long grass, etc

verb tees, teeing or teed

(when intr, often foll by up) to position (the ball) ready for striking, on or as if on a tee
See also tee off

Word Origin for tee

C17 teaz, of unknown origin

British Dictionary definitions for tee off (4 of 4)

/ (tiː) /


a mark used as a target in certain games such as curling and quoits

Word Origin for tee

C18: perhaps from T-shaped marks, which may have originally been used in curling
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

Idioms and Phrases with tee off

tee off


Start or begin, as in We teed off the fundraising drive with a banquet. This usage is a metaphor taken from golf, where tee off means “start play by driving a golf ball from the tee.” [Second half of 1900s]


Make angry or irritated, as in That rude comment teed him off, or I was teed off because it rained all weekend. [Slang; mid-1900s] Also see tick off.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.