\ 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, "Cameroon’s “president for life” is facing protests as the Anglophone crisis rumbles on," 28 Sep. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The swift release, which was not required by law, came after a night of particularly intense demonstrations, in which the police fired tear gas and rubber bullets. New York Times, "As Body Cameras Become Commonplace, a Debate Over When to Release the Footage," 2 May 2021 For the second time in less than a year, the Boston City Council on Wednesday passed an ordinance restricting police use of chemical agents such as tear gas and projectiles like sponge rounds to control crowds. BostonGlobe.com, "Boston City Council again passes proposal restricting police use of tear gas, projectiles during protests," 28 Apr. 2021 Protesters in Seattle have argued in court that tear gas and rubber bullets incentivize police to use indiscriminate violence more often. Tim Gruver, Washington Examiner, "Washington state Democrats shred key provisions to police reform bill banning chokeholds," 23 Apr. 2021 The police response to protests in Brooklyn Center over Wright's fatal shooting by a police officer this month sparked outrage over the use of tear gas and rubber bullets and the treatment of journalists covering the demonstrations. Star Tribune, "State police licensing board to adopt policy on protest response, ban white supremacist affiliation," 22 Apr. 2021 The first days of the protests over Wright's death turned chaotic as some demonstrators threw bottles and launched fireworks and officers deployed tear gas and stun guns. Keith Allen, CNN, "Oklahoma passes a law that can protect drivers who run over protesters," 22 Apr. 2021 Officers in riot gear used tear gas and wooden batons in clashes with demonstrators last week. Los Angeles Times, "Minneapolis mourning Daunte Wright after ex-cop is convicted of murdering George Floyd," 22 Apr. 2021 At the state Capitol last spring, officers fired tear gas and rubber bullets at protesters, and elsewhere in the city, police in riot gear cleared the streets when nightly curfews took effect. Alan Judd, ajc, "Months after unrest over George Floyd’s death, Atlanta relieved at guilty verdict," 21 Apr. 2021 Despite the mayor’s calls for law enforcement and protesters to scale back their tactics, the nights have often ended in objects hurled, tear gas and arrests. Stephen Groves And John Minchillo, Anchorage Daily News, "In Minneapolis, armed patrol group tries to keep the peace," 19 Apr. 2021

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 9 May. 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

Comments on tear-gas

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