tear

1
[ teer ]
/ tɪər /

noun

a drop of the saline, watery fluid continually secreted by the lacrimal glands between the surface of the eye and the eyelid, serving to moisten and lubricate these parts and keep them clear of foreign particles.
this fluid appearing in or flowing from the eye as the result of emotion, especially grief: to shed tears.
something resembling or suggesting a tear, as a drop of a liquid or a tearlike mass of a solid substance, especially having a spherical or globular shape at one end and tapering to a point at the other: teardrop earrings.
Glassmaking. a decorative air bubble enclosed in a glass vessel; air bell.
tears, grief; sorrow.

verb (used without object)

to fill up and overflow with tears, as the eyes (often followed by up): My eyes were tearing in the wind. He teared up when he heard the news.

Idioms

    in tears, weeping: He was in tears over the death of his dog.

Origin of tear

1
before 900; (noun) Middle English teer, Old English tēar, tehher, taeher; cognate with Old High German zahar, Old Norse tār, Gothic tagr, Greek dákry, Latin lacrima (see lachrymal); (v.) Middle English teren, Old English teheran, in teherende (gerund), derivative of the noun

Definition for tears (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

Examples from the Web for tears

British Dictionary definitions for tears (1 of 3)

tears

/ (tɪəz) /

pl n

the clear salty solution secreted by the lacrimal glands that lubricates and cleanses the surface of the eyeball and inner surface of the eyelidsRelated adjective: lachrymal
a state of intense frustration (esp in the phrase bored to tears)
in tears weeping
without tears presented so as to be easily assimilatedreading without tears

British Dictionary definitions for tears (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 tears (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 tears

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 tears (1 of 2)

tears


see bore to death (tears); burst into (tears); crocodile tears. Also see under tear.

Idioms and Phrases with tears (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.