rip 1 of 3

as in to tear
to cause (something) to separate into jagged pieces by violently pulling at it the dog ripped the sleeve of my shirt by grabbing it with his teeth

Synonyms & Similar Words



2 of 3

noun (1)


3 of 3

noun (2)

Synonym Chooser

How is the word rip different from other verbs like it?

Some common synonyms of rip are cleave, rend, rive, split, and tear. While all these words mean "to separate forcibly," rip implies a pulling apart in one rapid uninterrupted motion often along a line or joint.

ripped the shirt on a nail

When might cleave be a better fit than rip?

The synonyms cleave and rip are sometimes interchangeable, but cleave implies very forceful splitting or cutting with a blow.

a bolt of lightning cleaved the giant oak

When can rend be used instead of rip?

While the synonyms rend and rip are close in meaning, rend implies very violent or ruthless severing or sundering.

an angry mob rent the prisoner's clothes

When could rive be used to replace rip?

Although the words rive and rip have much in common, rive occurs most often in figurative use.

a political party riven by conflict

In what contexts can split take the place of rip?

While in some cases nearly identical to rip, 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

Where would tear be a reasonable alternative to rip?

In some situations, the words tear and rip are roughly equivalent. However, tear implies pulling apart by force and leaving jagged edges.

tear up the letter

Thesaurus Entries Near rip

Cite this Entry

“Rip.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Dec. 2023.

More from Merriam-Webster on rip

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