\ ˈtir-ˌgas How to pronounce tear-gas (audio) \
variants: or tear gas or less commonly teargas
tear-gassed or tear gassed also teargassed; tear-gassing or tear gassing also teargassing; tear-gases or tear gasses also teargasses

Definition of tear-gas

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

: to use tear gas on The troops then tear-gassed the crowd of several hundred, mostly teenagers and young men, which scattered in great confusion, but re-formed later.— Roger Daniels

tear gas


Definition of tear gas (Entry 2 of 2)

: a solid, liquid, or gaseous substance that on dispersion in the atmosphere irritates mucous membranes resulting especially in blinding of the eyes with tears and that is used chiefly (as by the police and the military) to disperse large crowds of people

Examples of tear-gas in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb But the popular uprising was met with force as security forces used water cannons and teargas to break up demonstrations. Amindeh Blaise Atabong, Quartz Africa, 28 Sep. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Meanwhile an Arab-Israeli resident of Lod, Wael Essawi, told CNN that a mosque was stormed by Israeli police and Jewish residents during prayers on Tuesday night before tear gas was fired and cars were set ablaze. Abeer Salman, Amir Tal And Sugam Pokharel, CNN, 13 May 2021 Smoke canisters were used as a crowd-control tactic, but no tear gas was deployed. Mica Soellner, Washington Examiner, 16 Apr. 2021 Moments later, tear gas was fired and gunshots rang out. NBC News, 9 Mar. 2021 Blankley and Maddox refuted social media reports that tear gas had been deployed, just the pepper spray. Carol Robinson | Crobinson@al.com, al, 12 Jan. 2021 Lawmakers were told to duck under their seats for cover and put on gas masks after tear gas was used in the Capitol Rotunda. Lisa Mascaro, Star Tribune, 7 Jan. 2021 The video also shows tear gas being deployed inside the music studio. Noemie Bisserbe, WSJ, 18 Dec. 2020 But some Wauwatosa residents decried the heavy show of force by law enforcement officials over the last five nights, as tear gas and rubber bullets were used on protesters in several circumstances. Evan Casey, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 12 Oct. 2020 Tuesday's protest had resulted in 64 arrests as of 5:15 p.m. but tear gas had not been dispersed by police. Lucas Aulbach, The Courier-Journal, 25 Aug. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'tear-gas.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of tear-gas


1918, in the meaning defined above


1916, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for tear-gas

Time Traveler

The first known use of tear-gas was in 1916

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Statistics for tear-gas

Cite this Entry

“Tear-gas.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tear-gas. Accessed 21 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for tear-gas

tear gas


English Language Learners Definition of tear gas

: a gas that makes people unable to see by causing their eyes to be filled with tears and that is used especially by the police or military to separate large groups of people

tear gas


Medical Definition of tear gas

: a solid, liquid, or gaseous substance that on dispersion in the atmosphere irritates mucous membranes resulting especially in blinding of the eyes with tears


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