- 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/somebody
- 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/somebody away by force from somebody/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. See related entries: Injuries 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 Word Origin Old English teran, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch teren and German zehren, from an Indo-European root shared by Greek derein
- 1very badly damaged synonym in tatters Her nerves were in shreds. The country's economy is in shreds.
- 2torn in many places The document was in shreds on the floor.
verbjump to other results
BrE BrE//teə(r)//; NAmE NAmE//ter//Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they tear
BrE BrE//teə(r)//; NAmE NAmE//ter//he / she / it tears
BrE BrE//teəz//; NAmE NAmE//terz//past simple tore
BrE BrE//tɔː(r)//; NAmE NAmE//tɔːr//past participle torn
BrE BrE//tɔːn//; NAmE NAmE//tɔːrn//-ing form tearing
BrE BrE//ˈteərɪŋ//; NAmE NAmE//ˈterɪŋ//Injuries
to separate yourself or somebody/something from a group of people or their influence, etc. The organization broke loose from its sponsors. He cut himself loose from his family. (informal) safe; not damaged or hurt, especially after a journey or dangerous experience They were lucky to get home in one piece.