tear·​gas | \ ˈtir-ˌgas How to pronounce teargas (audio) \
teargassed; teargassing; teargases

Definition of teargas

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

: to use tear gas on

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 is used chiefly in dispelling mobs

Examples of teargas in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

On Sunday, November 25, hundreds of migrants marched toward San Ysidro Port of Entry to ask for asylum when U.S. border agents launched tear gas to discourage them. Ari Honarvar, Teen Vogue, "Migrants and Advocates Explain the Migrant Caravan Hunger Strike Protesting U.S. Asylum Policy," 4 Dec. 2018 One officer used pepper spray, but officials said no tear gas was used. Lucia I. Suarez Sang, Fox News, "Antifa's violent confrontations with police, journalists mar otherwise peaceful rally counterprotesters," 13 Aug. 2018 Julio Cesar Perdomo said his injured son told him the tear gas was launched from a bathroom and that the establishment then closed the doors. NBC News, "17 killed in stampede after brawl at crowded Caracas club," 16 June 2018 On April 19, the F.B.I. began to pump military-grade tear gas into the compound. Rosa Heyman, Marie Claire, "What Happened in Waco, Texas?," 24 Jan. 2018 The use of tear gas coincides with increasingly hostile rhetoric and harsh policies from the White House. Christianna Silva, Teen Vogue, "U.S. Border Patrol Agents Used Tear Gas to Disperse Hundreds of People in the Migrant Caravan," 26 Nov. 2018 Hundreds of additional protesters ran to the scene, and Israeli armored vehicles sped to the site and fired barrages of tear gas. Fares Akram, The Christian Science Monitor, "Violent conflict ignites along Israeli border fence in Gaza," 27 Apr. 2018 But none of these devices have been effective, and police continue to rely on tear gas and rubber bullets. David Hambling, Popular Mechanics, "The Long, Weird History of Strobe Weapons," 11 Feb. 2019 Over those 11 months, there were 743 cases of agents and officers using less-lethal force, like batons, stun guns, tear gas and pepper spray. Colleen Long, The Seattle Times, "Clash with migrants spotlights force at the border," 28 Nov. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'teargas.' 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 teargas


1946, in the meaning defined above


1916, in the meaning defined above

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Dictionary Entries near teargas

tear fault


tear gas


tear grass



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Time Traveler for teargas

The first known use of teargas was in 1916

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More Definitions for teargas

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 esp. in blinding of the eyes with tears

More from Merriam-Webster on teargas

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with teargas

Comments on teargas

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an enemy or opponent

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