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tear apart

.
Upset or make distraught, as in The parents' divorce tore apart the grandparents. [ Second half of 1800s ]
.
Criticize severely, as in The professor tore her paper apart. [ Mid-1900s ]
.
Search some place completely, as in The police tore the house apart. [ Second half of 1900s ]
.
Separate, especially unwillingly, as in The war tore many families apart.
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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