tea·​sel | \ ˈtē-zəl How to pronounce teasel (audio) \

Definition of teasel

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : an Old World prickly herb (Dipsacus fullonum of the family Dipsacaceae, the teasel family) with flower heads that are covered with stiff hooked bracts and were used especially formerly in the woolen industry

called also fuller's teasel

b : a plant of the same genus as the teasel
2a : a flower head of the fuller's teasel used when dried to raise a nap on woolen cloth
b : a wire substitute for the teasel


teaseled or teaselled; teaseling or teaselling\ ˈtēz-​liŋ How to pronounce teaselling (audio) , ˈtē-​zə-​ \

Definition of teasel (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to nap (cloth) with teasels

Illustration of teasel

Illustration of teasel


teasel 1a

In the meaning defined above

Examples of teasel in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun One of those, teasel, has taken over open hillsides on the east bank of the river south of W. Cleveland Ave. Don Behm, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Concrete bed of Kinnickinnic River in Pulaski Park to be removed for recreational and safety upgrades," 7 May 2018 Some Indian tailors who make expensive clothing use cashmere refined by an Irish mill, the last one in the world apparently, and use teasel for that purpose. Margaret Lauterbach, idahostatesman, "Some non-native weeds flourish in Idaho," 31 May 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'teasel.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of teasel


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1543, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for teasel


Middle English tesel, from Old English tǣsel; akin to Old English tǣsan to tease

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The first known use of teasel was before the 12th century

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Cite this Entry

“Teasel.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/teasel. Accessed 1 Jun. 2020.

More from Merriam-Webster on teasel

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with teasel

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about teasel

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