[ tair ]
/ tɛər /
verb (used with object), tore or (Archaic) tare, torn or (Archaic) tare, tear·ing.
to pull apart or in pieces by force, especially so as to leave ragged or irregular edges.
to pull or snatch violently; wrench away with force: to tear wrappings from a package; to tear a book from someone's hands.
to distress greatly: anguish that tears the heart.
to divide or disrupt: a country torn by civil war.
to wound or injure by or as if by rending; lacerate.
to produce or effect by rending: to tear a hole in one's coat.
to remove by force or effort: to be unable to tear oneself from a place.
verb (used without object), tore or (Archaic) tare, torn or (Archaic) tare, tear·ing.
to become torn.
to make a tear or rent.
to move or behave with force, violent haste, or energy: The wind tore through the trees; cars tearing up and down the highway; I was tearing around all afternoon trying to find sandals for the beach.
the act of tearing.
a rent or fissure.
a rage or passion; violent flurry or outburst.
Informal. a spree.
- 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.
tear into, Informal.
- 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.
tear off, Slang. to perform or do, especially rapidly or casually: to tear off a poem; to tear off a set of tennis.
- to tear into small shreds: He tore up the drawings because she had criticized them.
- to cancel or annul: to tear up a contract.
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Idioms for tear
tear it, Slang. to ruin all hope; spoil everything.
tear one's hair, to manifest extreme anxiety, grief, anger, or frustration: I'm so upset, I could just tear my hair out.Also tear one's hair out.
Origin of tear2
before 900; Middle English teren (v.), Old English teran; cognate with Dutch teren, German zehren to consume, Gothic distairan to destroy, Greek dérein to flay
synonym study for tear
1. Tear, rend, rip mean to pull apart. To tear is to split the fibers of something by pulling apart, usually so as to leave ragged or irregular edges: to tear open a letter. Rend implies force or violence in tearing apart or in pieces: to rend one's clothes in grief. Rip implies vigorous tearing asunder, especially along a seam or line: to rip the sleeves out of a coat.
OTHER WORDS FROM teartear·a·ble, adjectivetear·a·ble·ness, nountear·er, nounun·tear·a·ble, adjective
Words nearby tear
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020
British Dictionary definitions for tear at (1 of 2)
/ (tɪə) /
a drop of the secretion of the lacrimal glandsSee tears
something shaped like a hanging dropa tear of amber
Also called (esp Brit): teardrop
Derived forms of teartearless, adjective
Word Origin for tear
Old English tēar, related to Old Frisian, Old Norse tār, Old High German zahar, Greek dakri
British Dictionary definitions for tear at (2 of 2)
/ (tɛə) /
verb tears, tearing, tore or torn
to cause (material, paper, etc) to come apart or (of material, etc) to come apart; rip
(tr) to make (a hole or split) in (something)to tear a hole in a dress
(intr often foll by along) to hurry or rushto tear along the street
(tr; usually foll by away or from) to remove or take by force
(when intr, often foll by at) to cause pain, distress, or anguish (to)it tore at my heartstrings to see the starving child
tear one's hair informal to be angry, frustrated, very worried, etc
a hole, cut, or split
the act of tearing
a great hurry; rush
on a tear slang showing a sudden burst of energy
Derived forms of teartearable, adjectivetearer, noun
Word Origin for tear
Old English teran; related to Old Saxon terian, Gothic gatairan to destroy, Old High German zeran to destroy
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
Scientific definitions for tear at
[ tîr ]
A drop of the clear salty liquid secreted by glands (lacrimal glands) in the eyes. Tears wet the membrane covering the eye and help rid the eye of irritating substances.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Idioms and Phrases with tear at (1 of 2)
Pull at or attack violently, as in Jane eagerly tore at the wrapping paper, or The dog tore at the meat. [Mid-1800s]
Distress, as in Their plight tore at his heart.
Idioms and Phrases with tear at (2 of 2)
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.
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.