in tears


1 [teer]
a drop of the saline, watery fluid continually secreted by the lacrimal glands between the surface of the eye and the eyelid, serving to moisten and lubricate these parts and keep them clear of foreign particles. teardrop.
this fluid appearing in or flowing from the eye as the result of emotion, especially grief: to shed tears.
something resembling or suggesting a tear, as a drop of a liquid or a tearlike mass of a solid substance, especially having a spherical or globular shape at one end and tapering to a point at the other: teardrop earrings.
Glassmaking. a decorative air bubble enclosed in a glass vessel; air bell.
tears, grief; sorrow.
verb (used without object)
to fill up and overflow with tears, as the eyes (often followed by up ): My eyes were tearing in the wind. He teared up when he heard the news.
in tears, weeping: He was in tears over the death of his dog.

before 900; (noun) Middle English teer, Old English tēar, tehher, taeher; cognate with Old High German zahar, Old Norse tār, Gothic tagr, Greek dákry, Latin lacrima (see lachrymal); (v.) Middle English teren, Old English teheran, in teherende (gerund), derivative of the noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
tear1 (tɪə)
1.  See tears a drop of the secretion of the lacrimal glands
2.  something shaped like a hanging drop: a tear of amber
[Old English tēar, related to Old Frisian, Old Norse tār, Old High German zahar, Greek dakri]

tear2 (tɛə)
vb (often foll by along) (when intr, often foll by at) , tears, tearing, tore, torn
1.  to cause (material, paper, etc) to come apart or (of material, etc) to come apart; rip
2.  (tr) to make (a hole or split) in (something): to tear a hole in a dress
3.  to hurry or rush: to tear along the street
4.  (tr; usually foll by away or from) to remove or take by force
5.  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
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
[Old English teran; related to Old Saxon terian, Gothic gatairan to destroy, Old High German zeran to destroy]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

"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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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

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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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
tear   (tîr)  Pronunciation Key 
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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