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 tearshole, crack, rive, pull, divide, injure, mangle, separate, damage, snatch, break, shred, split, slash, grab, yank, rupture, sever, wrench, shoot
Examples from the Web for tears
Contemporary Examples of tears
Though tissues are present and tears are not uncommon, the Dinner Parties are distinctly not grief counseling or group therapy.Everyone at This Dinner Party Has Lost Someone
January 6, 2015
Watching him now being accused of illegal operations will not see them shedding any tears.Annoying Airport Delays Might Prevent You From Becoming the Next AirAsia 8501
January 6, 2015
To look at her in tears was to behold the enormity of her loss.Funeral Protest Is Too Much for NYPD Union Boss
January 5, 2015
For nearly her entire life Beyoncé has been giving us her blood, sweat, and tears in her career.Bow Down, Bitches: How Beyoncé Turned an Elevator Brawl Into a Perfect Year
December 31, 2014
And in the season finale, I cringed so hard that tears finally came out.‘The Comeback’ Finale: Give Lisa Kudrow All of the Awards
December 29, 2014
Historical Examples of tears
The tune was familiar to her in happier days, and she listened to it with tears.
It looks as if the dew was on it; but the tears will not make it grow again—will they?
"Now you are angry with me," exclaimed the sensitive maiden; and she burst into tears.
Here the tumult of mingled emotion subsided in a flood of tears.
Yet his voice was unbroken and he was, indeed, unconscious of the tears.The Spenders
Harry Leon Wilson
Word Origin for tear
verb tears, tearing, tore or torn
Word Origin for tear
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).
"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.
see bore to death (tears); burst into (tears); crocodile tears. Also see under 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
- rip (tear) into
- wear and tear
Also see undertearstorn.