verb (used without object)
Origin of tear1
verb (used with object), tore or (Archaic) tare, torn or (Archaic) tare, tear·ing.
verb (used without object), tore or (Archaic) tare, torn or (Archaic) tare, tear·ing.
- to pluck violently at; attempt to tear: She tore at the bandages until they loosened.
- to distress; afflict: remorse that tears at one's soul.
- to pull down; destroy; demolish.
- to disparage or discredit: to tear down one's friends behind their backs.
- to attack impulsively and heedlessly: He tore into the food with a will.
- to attack verbally: She tore into him for being late for dinner.
- to tear into small shreds: He tore up the drawings because she had criticized them.
- to cancel or annul: to tear up a contract.
Origin of tear2
Related Words for tearhole, crack, rive, pull, divide, injure, mangle, separate, damage, snatch, break, shred, split, slash, grab, yank, rupture, sever, wrench, shoot
Examples from the Web for tear
Contemporary Examples of tear
Sam watches her fall apart, tear herself apart and is desperate.Grief: The Real Monster in The Babadook
December 19, 2014
And then he went on a tear in early 2013, creating one provocation after another, seemingly every day for more than two months.Kim Jong Un’s Kid Gloves Are Now Off
Gordon G. Chang
December 17, 2014
As Kate was driven away, she appeared to wipe a tear from her eye.Tearful Kate Weeps After Meeting Mother Whose Baby Died
November 25, 2014
Many of those gathering in the run-up to the grand jury decision wore hockey and tear gas masks to conceal their identity.Justice Was Served in Ferguson—This Isn’t Jim Crow America
November 25, 2014
Another factor was that Hungary had already become the first East European Communist country to tear down their wall.How The Cold War Endgame Played Out In The Rubble Of The Berlin Wall
November 9, 2014
Historical Examples of tear
No one has seen him shed a tear, of heard him utter a complaint.Philothea
Lydia Maria Child
Did you read my note--or did you tear it up like the other one?Viviette
William J. Locke
What could a heart then do but tear itself to pieces, think-thinking?Weighed and Wanting
Young Lady, who reads Dickens (wiping away the tear of imbecility).
At least I shall no longer have to tear my heart out, meeting Ned in her house.The Bacillus of Beauty
Word Origin for tear
verb tears, tearing, tore or torn
Word Origin for tear
"water from the eye," Old English tear, from earlier teahor, tæhher, from Proto-Germanic *takh-, *tagr- (cf. Old Norse, Old Frisian tar, Old High German zahar, German Zähre, Gothic tagr "tear"), from PIE *dakru-/*draku- (cf. Latin lacrima, Old Latin dacrima, Irish der, Welsh deigr, Greek dakryma). Tear gas first recorded 1917.
"pull apart," Old English teran (class IV strong verb; past tense tær, past participle toren), from Proto-Germanic *teran (cf. Old Saxon terian, Middle Dutch teren "to consume," Old High German zeran "to destroy," German zehren, Gothic ga-tairan "to tear, destroy"), from PIE *der- "tear" (cf. Sanskrit drnati "cleaves, bursts," Greek derein "to flay," Armenian terem "I flay," Old Church Slavonic dera "to burst asunder," Breton darn "piece").
The Old English past tense survived long enough to get into Bible translations as tare before giving place 17c. to tore, which is from the old past participle toren. Sense of "to pull by force" (away from some situation or attachment) is attested from late 13c. To be torn between two things (desires, loyalties, etc.) is from 1871.
1650s, mainly in American English, from tear (n.1). Related: Teared; tearing. Old English verb tæherian did not survive into Middle English.
"act of ripping or rending," 1660s, from tear (v.1).
In addition to the idioms beginning with tear
- tear apart
- tear around
- tear at
- tear away
- tear down
- tear into
- tear it
- tear off
- tear one's hair
- rip (tear) into
- wear and tear
Also see undertearstorn.