- 1[transitive, intransitive] to damage something by pulling it apart or into pieces, or by cutting it on something sharp; to become damaged in this way synonym rip tear (something) (+ adv./prep.) I tore my jeans on the fence. I tore a hole in my jeans. He tore the letter in two. a torn handkerchief Careful—the fabric tears very easily. tear something + adj. I tore the package open. I tore open the package.
- 2[transitive] tear something in something to make a hole in something by force synonym rip The blast tore a hole in the wall. remove from something or someone
- 3[transitive] tear something + adv./prep. to remove something from something else by pulling it roughly or violently synonym rip The storm nearly tore the roof off. I tore another sheet from the pad. He tore his clothes off (= took them off quickly and carelessly) and dived into the lake.
- 4[transitive] to pull yourself/someone away by force from someone or something that is holding you or them tear yourself/somebody from somebody/something She tore herself from his grasp. tear yourself/somebody + adj. He tore himself free. injure muscle
- 5[transitive] tear something to injure a muscle, etc. by stretching it too much a torn ligament She tore a calf muscle playing squash. move quickly
- 6[intransitive] + adv./prep. to move somewhere very quickly or in an excited way He tore off down the street. A truck tore past the gates. -torn
- 7(in adjectives) very badly affected or damaged by something to bring peace to a strife-torn country a strike-torn industry see also war-torn Idioms
to be unable to decide or choose between two people, things, or feelings I was torn between my parents and my friend.
be torn (between A and B)jump to other results
to separate yourself or someone or something from a group of people or their influence, etc. The organization broke loose from its sponsors. He cut himself loose from his family.
break/cut/tear (somebody/something) loose from somebody/somethingjump to other results
to destroy or defeat someone or something completely or criticize them or it severely We tore the other team apart in the second half. The critics tore his last movie to shreds.
tear somebody/something apart, to shreds, to bits, etc.jump to other results
to strongly affect you in an emotional way
tear at your heart, tear your heart out (formal)jump to other results
to show that you are very angry or anxious about something She's keeping very calm—anyone else would be tearing their hair out.
tear your hair (out) (informal)jump to other results
to destroy the most important part or aspect of something Closing the factory tore the heart out of the community.
tear/rip the heart out of somethingjump to other results
to attack someone very violently Phrasal Verbstear somebodyapart/uptear somethingaparttear at somethingtear somethingdowntear into somebody/somethingtear somebodyuptear somethinguptear yourself away (from something)
tear/rip somebody limb from limb (often humorous)jump to other results