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[tair] /tɛər/
verb (used with object), tore or (Archaic) tare, torn or (Archaic) tare, tearing.
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.
to pull or snatch violently; wrench away with force:
to tear wrappings from a package; to tear a book from someone's hands.
to distress greatly:
anguish that tears the heart.
Synonyms: break, crack, shatter, afflict.
to divide or disrupt:
a country torn by civil war.
Synonyms: disunite, split, splinter.
Antonyms: unite, reunite, join, bind.
to wound or injure by or as if by rending; lacerate.
Synonyms: cut, mangle, slash.
to produce or effect by rending:
to tear a hole in one's coat.
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.
to become torn.
to make a tear or rent.
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.
the act of tearing.
a rent or fissure.
Synonyms: rip, rift, rupture.
a rage or passion; violent flurry or outburst.
Informal. a spree.
Verb phrases
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.
tear down,
  1. to pull down; destroy; demolish.
  2. to disparage or discredit:
    to tear down one's friends behind their backs.
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.
tear off, Slang. to perform or do, especially rapidly or casually:
to tear off a poem; to tear off a set of tennis.
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.
tear it, Slang. to ruin all hope; spoil everything.
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.
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. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for tore up


a drop of the secretion of the lacrimal glands See tears
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


verb tears, tearing, tore, torn
to cause (material, paper, etc) to come apart or (of material, etc) to come apart; rip
(transitive) to make (a hole or split) in (something) to tear a hole in a dress
(intransitive) often foll by along. to hurry or rush to tear along the street
(transitive; usually foll by away or from) to remove or take by force
when intr, often foll by at. to cause pain, distress, or anguish (to) it tore at my heartstrings to see the starving child
(informal) tear one's hair, to be angry, frustrated, very worried, etc
a hole, cut, or split
the act of tearing
a great hurry; rush
(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 tore up
"water from the eye," O.E. tear, from earlier teahor, tæhher, from P.Gmc. *takh-, *tagr- (cf. O.N., O.Fris. tar, O.H.G. zahar, Ger. Zähre, Goth. tagr "tear"), from PIE *dakru-/*draku- (cf. L. lacrima, Old L. dacrima, Ir. der, Welsh deigr, Gk. dakryma). The O.E. verb tæherian did not survive into M.E.; the modern verb is attested from c.1650, mainly in Amer.Eng. Tear gas first recorded 1917; tear-jerker is attested from 1921 (first in ref. to writing of James Whitcomb Riley), on model of soda jerker.
"pull apart," O.E. teran (class IV strong verb; past tense tær, pp. toren), from P.Gmc. *teran (cf. O.S. terian, M.Du. teren "to consume," O.H.G. zeran "to destroy," Ger. zehren, Goth. ga-tairan "to tear, destroy"), from PIE *der- "tear" (cf. Skt. drnati "cleaves, bursts," Gk. derein "to flay," Arm. terem "I flay," O.C.S. dera "to burst asunder," Bret. darn "piece"). The O.E. past tense survived long enough to get into Bible translations as tare before giving place 17c. to tore, which is from the old pp. toren. Sense of "to pull by force" (away from some situation or attachment) is attested from 1297. The noun meaning "act of tearing" is attested from 1666. To be torn between two things (desires, loyalties, etc.) is from 1871.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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tore up in Medicine

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.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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tore up in Science
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 tore up

tear 1


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


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


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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Idioms and Phrases with tore up
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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