What does the phrase, "A tease here, a hint there" mean? I bumped into it on this page.

A tease here, a hint there, an occasional over-share of the plot elsewhere... There have been some stunning trailers this year – the more cynical among you might even argue they've been better than the actual movies – and here, for your previewing pleasure, are fifteen of our favourites.

P.S. I looked up tease and hint on Cambridge Dictionaries and found the following definitions for the noun forms, but they didn't make much sense to me. @Mari-Lou A

tease (noun) C

  • someone who is always teasing people
    someone who enjoys causing sexual excitement and interest in people she or he does not intend to have sex with

hint (noun)

  • [ C ] something that you say or do that shows what you think or want, usually in a way that is not direct
  • a piece of advice that helps you to do something
  • [C usually singular] a very small amount of something
  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – tchrist Dec 13 '16 at 0:59

ODO gives a definition of tease the 2nd meaning as a noun here which reads:

An act of teasing someone: ‘she couldn't resist a gentle tease’

This is the sense in which tease is used here but the sort of tease is one where something is partially revealed to tantalise the person being teased rather than a verbal taunt or minor physical attack.

Hint is used in the third sense included in @Mari-LouA's edit.

a very small amount of something

A tease here, a hint there, therefore, means that the trailers reveal exerpts from the movies which are designed to pique the interest of the viewers to the extent that they buy cinema tickets or DVDs so that they can see the whole production.


A tease here and a hint there

The phrase is a reference to the selection of movie snippets, better known as movie trailers, which film producers unleash onto the public prior to a film's general release.

A short film trailer (usually less than 2 minutes in length) is sometimes called a teaser, it acts as a tantalising bait by drawing the public's attention with shots taken from the story, and promises the movie will be greater and ‘tastier’ than imagined.

Oxford Dictionaries tells us that a teaser is

3. A short introductory advertisement for a product that stimulates interest by remaining cryptic:

The noun teaser is derived from the noun and verb tease, Etymonline suggests that the former emerged in the mid-1930s. By comparison, a (movie) tease provides the general public with enough glimpses, in order to whet their curiosity and increment their desire to see more. In this way, it is similar to the second meaning cited in Cambridge Dictionaries.

This possibly explains the passage from a short trailer to teaser, and then tease. In fact, we have to look at its 8th definition in Webster's College Dictionary to find any specific reference to the world of entertainment.

8. Also, teaser. a short scene or highlight shown at the beginning of a film or television show to engage the audience's attention.

In addition, a hint in this context, could be a suitable synonym for tease. Hints in trailers can suggest, and allude to the movie's most exciting scenes. They can provide the audience an anticipatory whiff, or peek into the future that strongly suggest the movie is worth seeing.

(OD) 1. A slight or indirect indication or suggestion:


  • Hint (noun) an indirect, covert, or helpful suggestion; clue

To hint is to convey an idea covertly or indirectly, but intelligibly: to hint that one would like a certain present; to hint that bits of gossip might be true.

However, due to the length of a movie tease(r), a hint can also mean a small amount, a sample, or a taster.

The phrase “a tease here, a hint there”, or its slightly more popular variant, “a hint here, tease there” is relatively uncommon, but not so the fixed binomial expression, “here and there”, whose specific order is well-established in the English language.

14. here and there,
in this place and in that; at various times or places:
He worked here and there, never for long in one town.

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