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tear apart

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1

Upset or make distraught, as in The parents' divorce tore apart the grandparents. [Second half of 1800s]

2

Criticize severely, as in The professor tore her paper apart. [Mid-1900s]

3

Search some place completely, as in The police tore the house apart. [Second half of 1900s]

4

Separate, especially unwillingly, as in The war tore many families apart.

QUIZ
QUIZ YOURSELF ON "WAS" VS. "WERE"!
Were you ready for a quiz on this topic? Well, here it is! See how well you can differentiate between the uses of "was" vs. "were" in this quiz.
Question 1 of 7
“Was” is used for the indicative past tense of “to be,” and “were” is only used for the subjunctive past tense.

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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.

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