\ 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 Multiple protesters were arrested by police, who used tear gas to break up some demonstrations. Betsy Klein, CNN, 12 July 2021 The prior day, police used tear gas to disperse the protesters, who shot arrows; one pierced an officer's leg. David Biller And Tatiana Pollastri, Star Tribune, 23 June 2021 The report tries to explain one of the main points of lingering contention: who used tear gas and when? Ashraf Khalil, chicagotribune.com, 9 June 2021 Demonstrations in South Florida were mostly peaceful, though some businesses in Fort Lauderdale were damaged and police used tear gas, and fired into crowds with rubber bullets. Eileen Kelley, sun-sentinel.com, 19 Apr. 2021 The department denied social media reports that officers used tear gas during the clashes. David Aaro, Fox News, 25 Mar. 2021 The gunman, who had sealed off doors and used tear gas, was sentenced to life in prison. Ryan W. Miller, USA TODAY, 24 Mar. 2021 Jordan used tear gas on Monday to suppress protests against a curfew imposed to stem a severe outbreak of COVID-19, witnesses and residents said. NBC News, 17 Mar. 2021 Protesters doused their faces in milk after police used tear gas to try to disperse them. USA Today, 12 Mar. 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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Dictionary Entries Near tear-gas


tear fault



tear gas

tear grass


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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 26 Jul. 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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