tear

verb (1)
\ˈter \
tore\ˈtȯr \; torn\ˈtȯrn \; tearing

Definition of tear 

(Entry 1 of 4)

transitive verb

1a : to separate parts of or pull apart by force : rend

b : to wound by or as if by pulling apart by force : lacerate tear the skin

2 : to divide or disrupt by the pull of contrary forces a mind torn with doubts

3a : to remove by force : wrench often used with off tear a cover off a box

b : to remove as if by wrenching tear your thoughts away from the scene

4 : to make (a hole or opening) by or as if by pulling apart by force tear a hole in the wall

intransitive verb

1 : to separate on being pulled : rend this cloth tears easily

2a : to move or act with violence, haste, or force went tearing down the street

b : to smash or penetrate something with violent force the bullet tore through his leg

tear at

: to cause anguish to : distress her grief tore at his heart

tear into

: to attack without restraint or caution

tear it

: to cause frustration, defeat, or an end to plans or hopes that tears it

tear one's hair

: to pull one's hair as an expression of grief, rage, frustration, desperation, or anxiety also : to feel or display such an emotion

tear

noun (1)
\ˈter \

Definition of tear (Entry 2 of 4)

1a : damage from being torn (see tear entry 1) especially : a hole or flaw made by tearing mending a tear in her skirt

b : the act of tearing something

2a : a hurried and violent rush : a tearing pace the train went by at a tear

b : spree got paid and went on a tear

c : a run of unusual success the team was on a tear

tear

noun (2)
\ˈtir \

Definition of tear (Entry 3 of 4)

1a : a drop of clear saline fluid secreted by the lacrimal gland and diffused between the eye and eyelids to moisten the parts and facilitate their motion

b tears plural : a secretion of profuse tears that overflow the eyelids and dampen the face

2 tears plural : an act of weeping or grieving broke into tears

3 : a transparent drop of fluid or hardened fluid matter (such as resin)

tear

verb (2)
\ˈtir \
teared; tearing; tears

Definition of tear (Entry 4 of 4)

intransitive verb

: to fill with tears (see tear entry 3) : shed tears eyes tearing in the November wind— Saul Bellow

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Other Words from tear

Verb (1)

tearable \ˈter-​ə-​bəl \ adjective
tearer noun

Noun (2)

tearless adjective

Choose the Right Synonym for tear

Verb (1)

tear, rip, rend, split, cleave, rive mean to separate forcibly. tear implies pulling apart by force and leaving jagged edges. tear up the letter rip implies a pulling apart in one rapid uninterrupted motion often along a line or joint. ripped the shirt on a nail rend implies very violent or ruthless severing or sundering. an angry mob rent the prisoner's clothes split implies a cutting or breaking apart in a continuous, straight, and usually lengthwise direction or in the direction of grain or layers. split logs for firewood cleave implies very forceful splitting or cutting with a blow. a bolt of lightning cleaved the giant oak rive occurs most often in figurative use. a political party riven by conflict

Examples of tear in a Sentence

Noun (2)

And thus he would die—out in the cold world, with no shelter over his homeless head.  … And thus SHE would see him when she looked out upon the glad morning, and oh! would she drop one little tear upon his poor, lifeless form, would she heave one little sigh to see a bright young life so rudely blighted, so untimely cut down? — Mark Twain, Tom Sawyer, 1876

First Known Use of tear

Verb (1)

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

Noun (1)

1611, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Noun (2)

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb (2)

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for tear

Verb (1)

Middle English teren, from Old English teran; akin to Old High German zeran to destroy, Greek derein to skin, Sanskrit dṛṇāti he bursts, tears

Noun (1)

see tear entry 1

Noun (2)

Middle English, from Old English tæhher, tēar; akin to Old High German zahar tear, Greek dakry

Verb (2)

see tear entry 3

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Learn More about tear

Dictionary Entries near tear

tea party

teapot

teapoy

tear

tearage

tear apart

tear around

Statistics for tear

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for tear

The first known use of tear was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for tear

tear

noun
\ˈtir \

Kids Definition of tear

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : a drop of the salty liquid that moistens the eyes and the inner eyelids and that flows from the eyes when someone is crying

2 tears plural : an act of crying I burst into tears.

tear

verb
\ˈter \
tore\ˈtȯr \; torn\ˈtȯrn \; tearing

Kids Definition of tear (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : to pull into two or more pieces by force This paper is easy to tear.

2 : to wound or injure by or as if by tearing : lacerate Use an ointment where you tore the skin.

3 : to remove by force I tore the notice from the wall.

4 : to move powerfully or swiftly A car tore up the street.

tear down

: to knock down and break into pieces The old school was torn down.

tear

noun
\ˈter \

Kids Definition of tear (Entry 3 of 3)

: damage from being torn This blanket has a tear in it.

tear

noun
\ˈti(ə)r \

Medical Definition of tear 

(Entry 1 of 4)

1a : a drop of clear saline fluid secreted by the lacrimal gland and diffused between the eye and eyelids to moisten the parts and facilitate their motion

b tears plural : a secretion of profuse tears that overflow the eyelids and dampen the face

2 : a transparent drop of fluid or hardened fluid matter (as resin)

Medical Definition of tear (Entry 2 of 4)

: to fill with tears : shed tears my eyes sting and tear

\ˈta(ə)r, ˈte(ə)r \
tore\ˈtō(ə)r, ˈtȯ(ə)r \; torn\ˈtō(ə)rn, ˈtȯ(ə)rn \; tearing

Medical Definition of tear (Entry 3 of 4)

: to wound by or as if by pulling apart by force tear the skin

tear

noun

Medical Definition of tear (Entry 4 of 4)

: a wound made by tearing a bodily part a muscle tear

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More from Merriam-Webster on tear

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with tear

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for tear

Spanish Central: Translation of tear

Nglish: Translation of tear for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of tear for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about tear

Comments on tear

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