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hair

[hair] /hɛər/
noun
1.
any of the numerous fine, usually cylindrical, keratinous filaments growing from the skin of humans and animals; a pilus.
2.
an aggregate of such filaments, as that covering the human head or forming the coat of most mammals.
3.
a similar fine, filamentous outgrowth from the body of insects, spiders, etc.
4.
Botany. a filamentous outgrowth of the epidermis.
5.
cloth made of hair from animals, as camel and alpaca.
6.
a very small amount, degree, measure, magnitude, etc.; a fraction, as of time or space:
He lost the race by a hair.
Idioms
7.
get in someone's hair, Slang. to annoy or bother someone:
Their snobbishness gets in my hair.
8.
hair of the dog, Informal. a drink of liquor, supposed to relieve a hangover:
Even a hair of the dog didn't help his aching head.
Also, hair of the dog that bit one.
9.
let one's hair down, Informal.
  1. to relax; behave informally:
    He finally let his hair down and actually cracked a joke.
  2. to speak candidly or frankly; remove or reduce restraints:
    He let his hair down and told them about his anxieties.
10.
make one's hair stand on end, to strike or fill with horror; terrify:
The tales of the jungle made our hair stand on end.
11.
split hairs, to make unnecessarily fine or petty distinctions:
To argue about whether they arrived at two o'clock or at 2:01 is just splitting hairs.
12.
tear one's hair, to manifest extreme anxiety, grief, or anger:
He's tearing his hair over the way he was treated by them.
Also, tear one's hair out.
13.
to a hair, perfect to the smallest detail; exactly:
The reproduction matched the original to a hair.
14.
without turning a hair, without showing the least excitement or emotion.
Also, not turn a hair.
Origin
900
before 900; Middle English heer, Old English hǣr (cognate with Dutch, German haar, Old Norse hār), with vowel perhaps from Middle English haire hair shirt < Old French < Old High German hāria (cognate with Middle English here, Old English hǣre, Old Norse hǣra)
Related forms
hairlike, adjective
dehair, verb (used with object)
Can be confused
hair, hare.

tear2

[tair] /tɛər/
verb (used with object), tore or (Archaic) tare, torn or (Archaic) tare, tearing.
1.
to pull apart or in pieces by force, especially so as to leave ragged or irregular edges.
Synonyms: rend, rip, rive.
Antonyms: mend, repair, sew.
2.
to pull or snatch violently; wrench away with force:
to tear wrappings from a package; to tear a book from someone's hands.
3.
to distress greatly:
anguish that tears the heart.
Synonyms: break, crack, shatter, afflict.
4.
to divide or disrupt:
a country torn by civil war.
Synonyms: disunite, split, splinter.
Antonyms: unite, reunite, join, bind.
5.
to wound or injure by or as if by rending; lacerate.
Synonyms: cut, mangle, slash.
6.
to produce or effect by rending:
to tear a hole in one's coat.
7.
to remove by force or effort:
to be unable to tear oneself from a place.
verb (used without object), tore or (Archaic) tare, torn or (Archaic) tare, tearing.
8.
to become torn.
9.
to make a tear or rent.
10.
to move or behave with force, violent haste, or energy:
The wind tore through the trees; cars tearing up and down the highway; I was tearing around all afternoon trying to find sandals for the beach.
noun
11.
the act of tearing.
12.
a rent or fissure.
Synonyms: rip, rift, rupture.
13.
a rage or passion; violent flurry or outburst.
14.
Informal. a spree.
Verb phrases
15.
tear at,
  1. to pluck violently at; attempt to tear:
    She tore at the bandages until they loosened.
  2. to distress; afflict:
    remorse that tears at one's soul.
16.
tear down,
  1. to pull down; destroy; demolish.
  2. to disparage or discredit:
    to tear down one's friends behind their backs.
17.
tear into, Informal.
  1. to attack impulsively and heedlessly:
    He tore into the food with a will.
  2. to attack verbally:
    She tore into him for being late for dinner.
18.
tear off, Slang. to perform or do, especially rapidly or casually:
to tear off a poem; to tear off a set of tennis.
19.
tear up,
  1. to tear into small shreds:
    He tore up the drawings because she had criticized them.
    Synonyms: rip up.
  2. to cancel or annul:
    to tear up a contract.
Idioms
20.
tear it, Slang. to ruin all hope; spoil everything.
21.
tear one's hair, to manifest extreme anxiety, grief, anger, or frustration:
I'm so upset, I could just tear my hair out.
Also, tear one's hair out.
Origin
before 900; Middle English teren (v.), Old English teran; cognate with Dutch teren, German zehren to consume, Gothic distairan to destroy, Greek dérein to flay
Related forms
tearable, adjective
tearableness, noun
tearer, noun
untearable, adjective
Synonym Study
1. Tear, rend, rip mean to pull apart. To tear is to split the fibers of something by pulling apart, usually so as to leave ragged or irregular edges: to tear open a letter. Rend implies force or violence in tearing apart or in pieces: to rend one's clothes in grief. Rip implies vigorous tearing asunder, especially along a seam or line: to rip the sleeves out of a coat.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for tear hair out

hair

/hɛə/
noun
1.
any of the threadlike pigmented structures that grow from follicles beneath the skin of mammals and consist of layers of dead keratinized cells
2.
a growth of such structures, as on the human head or animal body, which helps prevent heat loss from the body
3.
(botany) any threadlike outgrowth from the epidermis, such as a root hair
4.
  1. a fabric or material made from the hair of some animals
  2. (as modifier): a hair carpet, a hair shirt
5.
another word for hair's-breadth to lose by a hair
6.
(informal) get in someone's hair, to annoy someone persistently
7.
hair of the dog, hair of the dog that bit one, an alcoholic drink taken as an antidote to a hangover
8.
(Brit, informal) keep your hair on!, keep calm
9.
let one's hair down, to behave without reserve
10.
not turn a hair, to show no surprise, anger, fear, etc
11.
split hairs, to make petty and unnecessary distinctions
Derived Forms
hairlike, adjective
Word Origin
Old English hær; related to Old Norse hār, Old High German hār hair, Norwegian herren stiff, hard, Lettish sari bristles, Latin crescere to grow

tear1

/tɪə/
noun
1.
a drop of the secretion of the lacrimal glands See tears
2.
something shaped like a hanging drop: a tear of amber
Also called (esp Brit) teardrop
Derived Forms
tearless, adjective
Word Origin
Old English tēar, related to Old Frisian, Old Norse tār, Old High German zahar, Greek dakri

tear2

/tɛə/
verb tears, tearing, tore, torn
1.
to cause (material, paper, etc) to come apart or (of material, etc) to come apart; rip
2.
(transitive) to make (a hole or split) in (something): to tear a hole in a dress
3.
(intransitive) often foll by along. to hurry or rush: to tear along the street
4.
(transitive; usually foll by away or from) to remove or take by force
5.
when intr, often foll by at. to cause pain, distress, or anguish (to): it tore at my heartstrings to see the starving child
6.
(informal) tear one's hair, to be angry, frustrated, very worried, etc
noun
7.
a hole, cut, or split
8.
the act of tearing
9.
a great hurry; rush
10.
(slang) on a tear, showing a sudden burst of energy
Derived Forms
tearable, adjective
tearer, noun
Word Origin
Old English teran; related to Old Saxon terian, Gothic gatairan to destroy, Old High German zeran to destroy
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for tear hair out

hair

n.

Old English hær "hair, a hair," from Proto-Germanic *khæran (cf. Old Saxon, Old Norse, Old High German har, Old Frisian her, Dutch and German haar "hair"), perhaps from PIE *ghers- "to stand out, to bristle, rise to a point" (cf. Lithuanian serys "bristle;" see horror).

Spelling influenced by Old Norse har and Old English haire "haircloth," from Old French haire, from Frankish *harja or some other Germanic source (see above). To let one's hair down "become familiar" is first recorded 1850. Phrase hair of the dog that bit you (1540s), homeopathic remedy, is in Pliny.

tear

n.

"water from the eye," Old English tear, from earlier teahor, tæhher, from Proto-Germanic *takh-, *tagr- (cf. Old Norse, Old Frisian tar, Old High German zahar, German Zähre, Gothic tagr "tear"), from PIE *dakru-/*draku- (cf. Latin lacrima, Old Latin dacrima, Irish der, Welsh deigr, Greek dakryma). Tear gas first recorded 1917.

"act of ripping or rending," 1660s, from tear (v.1).

v.

"pull apart," Old English teran (class IV strong verb; past tense tær, past participle toren), from Proto-Germanic *teran (cf. Old Saxon terian, Middle Dutch teren "to consume," Old High German zeran "to destroy," German zehren, Gothic ga-tairan "to tear, destroy"), from PIE *der- "tear" (cf. Sanskrit drnati "cleaves, bursts," Greek derein "to flay," Armenian terem "I flay," Old Church Slavonic dera "to burst asunder," Breton darn "piece").

The Old English past tense survived long enough to get into Bible translations as tare before giving place 17c. to tore, which is from the old past participle toren. Sense of "to pull by force" (away from some situation or attachment) is attested from late 13c. To be torn between two things (desires, loyalties, etc.) is from 1871.

1650s, mainly in American English, from tear (n.1). Related: Teared; tearing. Old English verb tæherian did not survive into Middle English.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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tear hair out in Medicine

hair (hâr)
n.

  1. Any of the cylindrical, keratinized, often pigmented filaments characteristically growing from the epidermis of a mammal.

  2. A growth of such filaments, as that forming the coat of an animal or covering the scalp of a human.

  3. One of the fine hairlike processes of a sensory cell.

tear 1 (târ)
n.
A rip or rent in a material or structure.

tear 2 (tēr)
n.
A drop of the clear salty liquid that is secreted by the lacrimal gland of the eye to lubricate the surface between the eyeball and eyelid and to wash away irritants.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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tear hair out in Science
hair
  (hâr)   

  1. One of the fine strands that grow from the skin of mammals, usually providing insulation against the cold. Modified hairs sometimes serve as protective defenses, as in the quills of a porcupine or hedgehog, or as tactile organs, as in the whiskers (called vibrissae) of many nocturnal mammals. Hair filaments are a modification of the epidermis of the skin and are composed primarily of keratin. Hair also contains melanin, which determines hair color.

  2. A slender growth resembling a mammalian hair, found on insects and other animals.

  3. A fine, threadlike growth from the epidermis of plants. See more at trichome.


tear
  (tîr)   
A drop of the clear salty liquid secreted by glands (lacrimal glands) in the eyes. Tears wet the membrane covering the eye and help rid the eye of irritating substances.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Slang definitions & phrases for tear hair out

hair

noun

Complexity: a system with a lot of hair (1980s+ Computer)

Related Terms

curl someone's hair, fair-haired boy, get in one's hair, have a bug up one's ass, have someone by the short hairs, in someone's hair, let one's hair down, longhair, not have a hair on one's ass


tear 1

noun

A drinking spree; bender, binge: Fred wanted to go on a little tear in the big town (1869+)

Related Terms

on a tear


tear 2

verb

To go very fast; rush around rapidly: McAllister had no inclination to go tear-assing up the slope and into the hills (entry form 1599+, variant 1940s+)


tear 3

noun

A pearl

[fr the tear shape of some pearls]


The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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tear hair out in the Bible

(1.) The Egyptians let the hair of their head and beard grow only when they were in mourning, shaving it off at other times. "So particular were they on this point that to have neglected it was a subject of reproach and ridicule; and whenever they intended to convey the idea of a man of low condition, or a slovenly person, the artists represented him with a beard." Joseph shaved himself before going in to Pharoah (Gen. 41:14). The women of Egypt wore their hair long and plaited. Wigs were worn by priests and laymen to cover the shaven skull, and false beards were common. The great masses of hair seen in the portraits and statues of kings and priests are thus altogether artificial. (2.) A precisely opposite practice, as regards men, prevailed among the Assyrians. In Assyrian sculptures the hair always appears long, and combed closely down upon the head. The beard also was allowed to grow to its full length. (3.) Among the Greeks the custom in this respect varied at different times, as it did also among the Romans. In the time of the apostle, among the Greeks the men wore short hair, while that of the women was long (1 Cor. 11:14, 15). Paul reproves the Corinthians for falling in with a style of manners which so far confounded the distinction of the sexes and was hurtful to good morals. (See, however, 1 Tim. 2:9, and 1 Pet. 3:3, as regards women.) (4.) Among the Hebrews the natural distinction between the sexes was preserved by the women wearing long hair (Luke 7:38; John 11:2; 1 Cor. 11:6), while the men preserved theirs as a rule at a moderate length by frequent clipping. Baldness disqualified any one for the priest's office (Lev. 21). Elijah is called a "hairy man" (2 Kings 1:8) from his flowing locks, or more probably from the shaggy cloak of hair which he wore. His raiment was of camel's hair. Long hair is especially noticed in the description of Absalom's person (2 Sam. 14:26); but the wearing of long hair was unusual, and was only practised as an act of religious observance by Nazarites (Num. 6:5; Judg. 13:5) and others in token of special mercies (Acts 18:18). In times of affliction the hair was cut off (Isa. 3:17, 24; 15:2; 22:12; Jer. 7:29; Amos 8:10). Tearing the hair and letting it go dishevelled were also tokens of grief (Ezra 9:3). "Cutting off the hair" is a figure of the entire destruction of a people (Isa. 7:20). The Hebrews anointed the hair profusely with fragrant ointments (Ruth 3:3; 2 Sam. 14:2; Ps. 23:5; 45:7, etc.), especially in seasons of rejoicing (Matt. 6:17; Luke 7:46).

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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Idioms and Phrases with tear hair out
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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