Definition of tear at
: to attack and pull pieces from (something) in a violent way <The cat tore at my pants with its claws.> —often used figuratively <Those two are always tearing at each other's throats.> <Her sadness tore at his heart.>
Word by Word Definitions
: to separate parts of or pull apart by force : rend
: to wound by or as if by pulling apart by force : lacerate
: to divide or disrupt by the pull of contrary forces
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