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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.
"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).
"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.
Any of the cylindrical, keratinized, often pigmented filaments characteristically growing from the epidermis of a mammal.
A growth of such filaments, as that forming the coat of an animal or covering the scalp of a human.
One of the fine hairlike processes of a sensory cell.
tear 1 (târ)
A rip or rent in a material or structure.
tear 2 (tēr)
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.
Complexity: a system with a lot of hair (1980s+ Computer)Related Terms
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+)
[fr the tear shape of some pearls]
(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).