tear-off

[ tair-awf, -of ]
/ ˈtɛərˌɔf, -ˌɒf /

adjective

designed to be easily removed by tearing, usually along a perforated line: a sales letter with a tear-off order blank.

Origin of tear-off

First recorded in 1885–90; adj., noun use of verb phrase tear off

Definition for tear off (2 of 2)

Origin of tear

2
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

Related forms

tear·a·ble, adjectivetear·a·ble·ness, nountear·er, nounun·tear·a·ble, adjective

Synonym study

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.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for tear off (1 of 3)

tear off

/ (tɛə) /

verb

(tr) to separate by tearing
(intr, adverb) to rush away; hurry
(tr, adverb) to produce in a hurry; do quickly and carelesslyto tear off a letter
tear someone off a strip British informal to reprimand or rebuke someone forcibly

adjective tear-off

(of paper, etc) produced in a roll or block and marked with perforations so that one section at a time can be torn off

British Dictionary definitions for tear off (2 of 3)

tear

1
/ (tɪə) /

noun

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

tearless, 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 off (3 of 3)

tear

2
/ (tɛə) /

verb tears, tearing, tore or torn

noun

Derived Forms

tearable, 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

Science definitions for tear off

tear

[ 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 off (1 of 2)

tear off


1

Produce hurriedly and casually, as in He tore off a poem a day for an entire month.

2

Leave in a hurry, as in She tore off to the store because it was about to close. [c. 1900]

Idioms and Phrases with tear off (2 of 2)

tear


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

also see:

  • 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.