When you tear something, you rip it apart. You might tear a hole in your jeans if you catch them on something sharp, or you might tear up that love letter you wrote to your crush.

The verb tear often refers to pulling something apart or making a hole — and has a noun form that describes the result of those actions — but it can also describe quick movement. If you tear out of the parking lot, you’re driving very fast. When you use tear in these ways, pronounce it to rhyme with hair. Another word, tear — what you do or produce when you cry — is spelled the same but pronounced to rhyme with peer.

Definitions of tear
  1. verb
    separate or cause to separate abruptly
    tear the paper”
    synonyms: bust, rupture, snap
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    cut or tear irregularly
    pull, rend, rent, rip, rive
    tear or be torn violently
    rip up, shred, tear up
    tear into shreds
    tear into pieces
    type of:
    disunite, divide, part, separate
    force, take, or pull apart
  2. verb
    strip of feathers
    synonyms: deplumate, deplume, displume, pluck, pull
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    type of:
    remove the surface from
  3. verb
    separate or be separated by force
    “planks were in danger of being torn from the crossbars”
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    cleave, rive, split
    separate or cut with a tool, such as a sharp instrument
    split (wood) with a maul and wedges
    split (wood) into thin sheets
    type of:
    disunite, divide, part, separate
    force, take, or pull apart
  4. verb
    move quickly and violently
    “The car tore down the street”
    synonyms: buck, charge, shoot, shoot down
    dart, dash, flash, scoot, scud, shoot
    run or move very quickly or hastily
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    move precipitously or violently
    type of:
    belt along, bucket along, cannonball along, hasten, hie, hotfoot, pelt along, race, rush, rush along, speed, step on it
    move fast
  5. noun
    an opening made forcibly as by pulling apart
    synonyms: rent, rip, snag, split
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    type of:
    gap, opening
    an open or empty space in or between things
  6. noun
    the act of tearing
    “he took the manuscript in both hands and gave it a mighty tear
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    the act of lacerating
    rent, rip, split
    the act of rending or ripping or splitting something
    type of:
    the act of dividing or disconnecting
  7. noun
    an occasion for excessive eating or drinking
    synonyms: binge, bout, bust
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    vulgar expression for a bout of heavy drinking
    type of:
    revel, revelry
    unrestrained merrymaking
  8. noun
    a drop of the clear salty saline solution secreted by the lacrimal glands
    “his story brought tears to her eyes”
    synonyms: teardrop
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    type of:
    drib, driblet, drop
    a small indefinite quantity (especially of a liquid)
  9. verb
    fill with tears or shed tears
    “Her eyes were tearing
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    type of:
    cry, weep
    shed tears because of sadness, rage, or pain
Word Family

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