I have seen some young kids like to tease somebody and laugh at the person and think this is a lots of fun for them, I would like to know if there is any word or idiom that explains their action.

  • 1
    Context could be important here to get the right idiom...is the target of the teasing laughing too, or is it more of a bullying of the target, albeit, verbally? Dec 4, 2014 at 14:44
  • Assuming that this attention is unwanted, I think "bully" is appropriate. "Verbal bully" if you want to be more specific. Don't dress it up in with obscure terms.
    – Hot Licks
    Dec 5, 2014 at 4:44

9 Answers 9


bullying or harassment.

From wikipedia entry on bullying:

Behaviors used to assert such domination can include verbal harassment or threat, physical assault or coercion, and such acts may be directed repeatedly towards particular targets


A common idiom is:

  • make fun of somebody, also poke fun at somebody:

    • to make someone seem ridiculous by making jokes about them When she first moved north, some people made fun of her southern accent.

(from TFD)


Take the mickey

-Tease or make fun of

Also sometimes 'take the piss'

See this link for more.


Give someone a hard time

This can be used if the persons in question all know each other and the teasing is meant to be fun rather than harassing someone.


In the US, someone who does so is a bully, for both verbal and physical forms.


Such a person (in Britain) is a wind-up merchant often abbreviated on the internet to WUM.


  1. 'wind' /waind/ is a verb. See the idiom 'to wind someone up'.

  2. I don't know if the idiom is used in the US.


One lively idiomatic term is razz, which Robert Chapman & Barbara Kipfer, Dictionary of American Slang, fourth edition (2007) defines as follows:

razz v To insult and ridicule; NEEDLE ["To nag at someone; criticize regularly and smartingly"], RIDE ["To tease, heckle, make fun of"] : Is there ever any razzing about the fact that you report to your wife? {1920+; fr[om] raspberry ["A rude and contemptuous expulsion of breath through vibrating lips"]; found in the form razoo by 1890}


With the OP's "tease" in mind, I'm going to propose the word josh.

Josh: (verb) "Tease (someone) in a playful way. He loved to josh people" (Oxford Dictionaries).


Pester could work! Its definition (according to Merriam-Webster Online is "to harass with petty irritations : annoy."

  • The definition "to harass with petty irritations" seems to have come from definition 2 of Merriam-Webster's entry for pester ("to harass with petty irritations : annoy"). I have added a link to that page of the MW site and credited the source in your answer. In future answers at this site, please include such citations. Thanks!
    – Sven Yargs
    Feb 27, 2017 at 5:46

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