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or touzle

[tou-zuh l] /ˈtaʊ zəl/
verb (used with object), tousled, tousling.
to disorder or dishevel:
The wind tousled our hair.
to handle roughly.
a disheveled or rumpled mass, especially of hair.
a disordered, disheveled, or tangled condition.
Origin of tousle
late Middle English
1400-50; late Middle English touselen (v.); cognate with Low German tūseln. See touse, -le Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for tousle
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • tousle may come as a visitor sometimes; and you may come always, Milly, if you'll be jolly and not tell secrets.

    Esther's Charge Evelyn Everett-Green
  • Roy would slap him on the shoulder and tousle his hair, but he would ask Tom's advice—and take it.

    Tom Slade at Temple Camp Percy K. Fitzhugh
  • He's got a mane like yours before it was cut off, Essie—all in a tousle.

    Esther's Charge Evelyn Everett-Green
  • Yet there looked little to pity in this jolly, rocking lad with the tousle of light hair and fresh, rosy countenance.

    Bob, Son of Battle Alfred Ollivant
British Dictionary definitions for tousle


verb (transitive)
to tangle, ruffle, or disarrange
to treat roughly
a disorderly, tangled, or rumpled state
a dishevelled or disordered mass, esp of hair
Word Origin
C15: from Low German tūsen to shake; related to Old High German zirzūsōn to tear to pieces
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
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Word Origin and History for tousle

"pull roughly, disorder, dishevel," mid-15c., frequentative of -tousen "handle or push about roughly," from Old English *tusian, from Proto-Germanic *tus- (cf. Frisian tusen, Old High German erzusen, German zausen "to tug, pull, dishevel"); related to tease.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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