tore

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tear a strip off (someone)

To scold, upbraid, or rebuke someone very severely, as for an error or wrongdoing. The teacher really tore a strip off me for causing a disruption in class again.
See also: off, strip, tear

tear up the pea patch

obsolete To go on or indulge in a wild outburst, spree, or rampage. (Used largely in relation to sports, especially baseball, where the phrase originated in reference to players running amok and ruining the game.) Primarily heard in US. Another fight has broken out between the two teams. These boys are positively tearing up the pea patch! A few rowdy types entered the bar and tore up the pea patch. They didn't even pay for anything!
See also: patch, pea, tear, up

all tore up

1. Very upset or emotional. Both "tore" or "torn" can be used in this phrase. Sean has been all tore up since his wife left him. A: "Did you hear that Joe died?" B: "I know, I've been all torn up about it."
2. slang Intoxicated. Do you remember last night at all? You were all tore up!
See also: all, tore, up

tear someone off a strip

To scold, upbraid, or rebuke someone very severely, as for an error or wrongdoing. The teacher really tore me off a strip for causing a disruption in class again.
See also: off, someone, strip, tear

tear (one's) heart out

To cause one to be extremely or inconsolably sad; to devastate one. Can't you see you're tearing Jane's heart out? Why do you have to treat her that way? That documentary really tore my heart out. I still feel so hopeless after watching it.
See also: heart, out, tear

tear apart

1. To violently rip or pull someone or something into pieces. In this usage, a name, noun, or pronoun can be used between "tear" and "apart." He tore the contract apart when he realized how little he would be paid for his work. The pack of wolves tore the poor traveler apart.
2. To cause or force two people, particularly lovers, to separate, whether permanently or temporarily. In this usage, a name, noun, or pronoun can be used between "tear" and "apart." The death of a child is the most calamitous things anyone can experience, and it ends up tearing many couples apart. We've only been dating for a couple of weeks, but we're having a hard time tearing ourselves apart.
3. To criticize or reproach someone or something in a severe and merciless manner. In this usage, a name, noun, or pronoun can be used between "tear" and "apart." The Sunday Times absolutely tore the film apart, so think I might skip seeing it. I heard the boss tearing Jack apart for his handling of the Jefferson account.
4. To cause someone to be extremely or inconsolably sad; to devastate someone. Can't you see you're tearing Jane apart? Why do you have to treat her that way? That documentary really tore me apart. I still feel so hopeless after watching it.
5. To divide or separate a group or organization. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "tear" and "apart." The issue has been tearing the community apart for months. News of the CEO's misconducted has torn the company apart.
6. To search through some place very thoroughly and aggressively, often leaving things in disarray as a result. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "tear" and "apart." I tore the house apart looking for my passport. FBI investigators have been tearing the office building apart in search of documents linking the corporation to criminal activity.
See also: apart, tear

tear at

1. To violently pull, rip, or attack someone or something. Billy tore at the presents, flinging wrapping paper behind him in a wild frenzy. The pack of wolves were tearing at the hiker when I found him.
2. To elicit a strong emotional response, especially sympathy, sadness, or guilt. Usually followed by "(one's) heart," "heart strings," or "conscience." It tore at my conscience to fire him, but I knew it had to be done. The film will tear at the heart strings of even the most cynical moviegoer.
See also: tear

tear away

1. To quickly and forcefully pull or rip something away (from someone or something else). In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "tear" and "away." Jill tore the paper away from me when I started reading it aloud. We began tearing the plaster away from the wall to reveal a secret compartment containing hundreds of thousands of dollars. It was tough tearing myself away from the barbecue, but I had to catch the last bus to the airport.
2. To remove someone or oneself unwillingly from someone, something, or some place. In this usage, a name, noun, or pronoun can be used between "tear" and "away." I had to tear the kids away from the TV screen and make them go outside to play. We've only been dating for a couple of weeks, but we're having a hard time tearing ourselves away from one another. It was tough tearing myself away from the barbecue, but I had to catch the last bus to the airport.
3. To leave or depart very quickly. The car tore away as soon as the police officer began approaching it. The boy began tearing away from the school, trying to outrun the group of bullies in pursuit. It was tough tearing myself away from the barbecue, but I had to catch the last bus to the airport.
See also: away, tear

tear down

1. To rip or pull something down from a surface. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "tear" and "away." The warden went around tearing down pictures and posters hanging up in prisoners' cells.
2. To dismantle or disassemble a large object or structure. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "tear" and "away." After the concert, we'll need everyone on hand to help tear down the set. I can't believe they haven't torn that old building down yet.
3. To deride, vilify, or excoriate someone or something. In this usage, a name, noun, or pronoun can be used between "tear" and "away." The director has long been a bully, tearing down those around him who would dare to challenge his authority. I don't understand why he's always tearing my work down.
4. To travel down or along something very quickly. The kids tore down the stairs to see what Santa Claus had brought the for Christmas. The motorcycle tore down the street in an ostentatious display of speed and motor power.
See also: down, tear

tear into

1. To begin violently or aggressively eating someone or something. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "tear" and "into." I was so hungry that I tore into the cheap hamburger like it was the most delicious thing I'd ever eaten. The pack of wolves were already tearing into the hiker by the time I found him.
2. To criticize or reproach someone or something in a severe and merciless manner. In this usage, a name, noun, or pronoun can be used between "tear" and "into." The boss tore into me for how I bungled the Jefferson account. I can hear Mom tearing into Dad again about his gambling.
See also: tear

tear off

1. To pull or rip something off from a larger whole. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "tear" and "apart." He tore off a lump of bread and used it to wipe the gravy off the plate. It felt like it was going to tear my arm off! Would you mind tearing off a piece of paper from your notebook for me to use in class?
2. To remove something with great haste. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "tear" and "apart." He tore off his jeans when he realized a spider had crawled up the pant leg. I tore the cushions off the sofa to try and find my keys.
3. To leave or depart very quickly. The kids all tore off as soon as they heard the police car approaching. The motorcycle tore off down the street, skipping stop signs and traffic lights on the way.
See also: off, tear

tear (someone or something) to ribbons

1. Literally, to destroy something by ripping or tearing it. I got so frustrated with that sketch that I finally just tore it to ribbons.
2. To judge or criticize someone or something harshly. I thought I had done a good job on the project, but my boss just tore me to ribbons, pointing out every little thing I had overlooked.
See also: ribbon, tear

tear the heart out of (something)

To remove, destroy, devastate, or totally undermine some essential or important aspect of something. This move by the government is going to force a lot of factories to close and tear the heart out of communities around the country. Senators added a number of amendments meant to tear the heart out of the tax bill.
See also: heart, of, out, tear

tear the rag off the bush

1. old-fashioned To excel beyond anyone or anything else. There were a lot of great entries, but I must say that this chili here tears the rag off the bush!
2. old-fashioned To be the most outrageous or unbelievable thing possible, either in a positive or a negative way. When I found out he had been reading through my text messages, well, that tore the rag off the bush! I've heard some tall tales in my time, but that one tears the rag off the bush!
See also: bush, off, rag, tear

tear (someone or something) to shreds

1. To criticize, upbraid, or condemn someone or something severely or thoroughly. A: "Have you heard anything about this movie we're about to see?" B: "Well, one reviewer tore it to shreds, but I still think it's going to be great." I hear John's bosses tore him to shreds at his annual performance review.
2. To cause great damage, disorder, or ruin to someone or something. Enjoy the tranquility and order of your house now because soon, your kids will start tearing the place to shreds. Sarah's very first opponent in amateur boxing tore her to shreds, but that's how it goes for most novice fighters.
See also: shred, tear

*all tore up (about something)

Inf. very upset and sorry about something. (The correct torn can also be used. *Typically: be ~; get ~.) When Jim's dog was lost, he was all tore up about it. I'm all tore up about denting your car like that. I'd be more than happy to pay for fixing it.
See also: all, tore, up

tear at someone or something

to rip at someone or something; to try to tear someone or something up. The badger tore at me, but I dodged it and ran away fast. Timmy tore at the package, struggling to get the paper off.
See also: tear

tear away (from someone or something)

to leave someone or something, running. Dave tore away from Jill, leaving her to find her own way home. Roger tore away from the meeting, trying to make his train.
See also: away, tear

tear down something

to race down something very fast. (See also tear something down.) The girls tore down the hallway as fast as they could run. They tore down the stairs and ran out the door.
See also: down, tear

tear into someone

Fig. to scold someone severely; to attack someone with criticism. I was late, and the boss tore into me like a mad dog. I don't know why she tore into me. I was at work when the window was broken.
See also: tear

tear into someone or something

to attack someone or something; to attack someone or something with the intent of eating someone or something. The wolves tore into the hunter and injured him severely. The kids tore into the cake and ate it all.
See also: tear

tear into something

Fig. to begin eating food with gusto. The family tore into the mountain of food like they hadn't eaten since breakfastwhich was true, in fact. Jimmy tore into the turkey leg and cleaned it off in no time.
See also: tear

tear off (from someone or something)

to leave someone or something in a great hurry. I hate to tear off from you guys, but I'm late for dinner. It's time for me to go. I have to tear off.
See also: off, tear

tear (oneself) away (from someone or something)

Fig. to force oneself to leave someone or something. Do you think you can tear yourself away from your friends for dinner? I could hardly tear myself away from the concert.
See also: away, tear

tear someone apart

 
1. Lit. to rip someone apart savagely. (See also tear something apart.) Max threatened to tear Tom apart. The bear tore apart the hiker.
2. Fig. to cause two people, presumably lovers, to separate unwillingly. The enormous disruption of the accident tore them apart and they separated. The bickering between their parents finally tore apart the engaged couple.
3. Fig. to cause someone enormous grief or emotional pain. The death of her dog tore her apart. It was the dog's death that tore apart Barbara.
4. Fig. to criticize someone mercilessly. The critic tore apart the entire cast of the play. Why do you have to tear yourself apart for making a little error?
See also: apart, tear

tear someone or something down

to criticize or degrade someone or something. Tom is always tearing Jane down. I guess he doesn't like her. It's not nice to tear down the people who work in your office. Why are you always tearing my projects down?
See also: down, tear

tear something apart

 
1. to pull or rip something apart. (See also tear someone apart.) The bear tore the tent apart. The lions tore apart the wildebeest in minutes, and began eating it.
2. to criticize something mercilessly. The critic tore apart the entire cast of the play.
3. to divide something or the members of a group, citizens of a country, etc. The financial crisis tore the club apart. The crisis tore apart the organization.
See also: apart, tear

tear something away

 (from someone or something)
1. to peel something from someone or something. The paramedic tore the clothing away from the burn victim and began to treat the wounds immediately. She tore away the clothing from the victim. She tore the clothing away.
2. to quickly take something away from someone or something. I tore the firecracker away from the child and threw it in the lake. Liz tore away the cover from the book. She tore the wrapping paper away.
See also: away, tear

tear something down

to dismantle or destroy something. They plan to tear the old building down and build a new one there. They'll tear down the building in about two weeks.
See also: down, tear

tear something off (of) someone or something

 and tear something off
to peel or rip something off someone or something. (Of is usually retained before pronouns.) Max tore the necklace off his victim and ran away with it. He tore off the necklace.
See also: off, tear

tore (up)

 and torn (up) 
1. Sl. distraught; emotionally upset. I knew you'd be tore up. Fred's really torn up about the accident.
2. Sl. intoxicated. He wasn't just drunk—he was massively tore up. Boy, was she torn.

tear apart

1. Upset or make distraught, as in The parents' divorce tore apart the grandparents. [Second half of 1800s]
2. Criticize severely, as in The professor tore her paper apart. [Mid-1900s]
3. Search some place completely, as in The police tore the house apart. [Second half of 1900s]
4. Separate, especially unwillingly, as in The war tore many families apart.
See also: apart, tear

tear at

1. Pull at or attack violently, as in Jane eagerly tore at the wrapping paper, or The dog tore at the meat. [Mid-1800s]
2. Distress, as in Their plight tore at his heart.
See also: tear

tear away

Remove oneself unwillingly or reluctantly, as in I couldn't tear myself away from that painting. [Late 1700s]
See also: away, tear

tear down

1. Demolish, take apart, as in They tore down the old tenements, or He loved to tear down old engines. [Early 1600s]
2. Vilify or discredit, as in He's always tearing down someone or other. [First half of 1900s]
See also: down, tear

tear off

1. Produce hurriedly and casually, as in He tore off a poem a day for an entire month.
2. Leave in a hurry, as in She tore off to the store because it was about to close. [c. 1900]
See also: off, tear

tear someone off a strip (or tear a strip off someone)

rebuke someone angrily. informal
This expression was originally RAF slang, first recorded in the 1940s.
See also: off, someone, strip, tear

tear apart

v.
1. To destroy something by or as if by tearing: The explosion tore the building apart. The tornado tore apart the barn.
2. To separate someone from someone else: Don't let your anger tear you apart from me. We can't tear the happy couple apart.
3. To criticize something harshly: The committee tore apart my report. The professor tore the student's paper apart.
See also: apart, tear

tear at

v.
1. To pull at or attack something violently: The dog tore at the meat.
2. To distress someone or something greatly: Their sad story tore at my heart. When I told a lie, it tore at my conscience.
See also: tear

tear away

v.
1. To remove someone or something by force: The mugger tore my bag away from me. The security guard tore away the passenger's knife.
2. To remove someone unwillingly or reluctantly: The book was so suspenseful that I couldn't tear myself away from it. We can't tear the children away from the video games, so we bought a system for the car.
3. To leave or drive off rapidly: When the stoplight turned green, the taxi tore away.
See also: away, tear

tear down

v.
1. To demolish something; raze something: The city tore down the old warehouses. I put up posters, but my opponents tore them down.
2. To take something apart; disassemble something: The mechanic tore down the engine. We took out the motor and tore it down to find out what was wrong with it.
3. To make vicious and damaging statements about someone or something; denigrate someone or something: The speakers tried to change the audience's opinion, but the audience tore the speakers down.
See also: down, tear

tear into

v.
To attack someone or something with great vigor or violence: The bear tore into the meat. The boxer tore into his opponent at the match.
See also: tear

tear off

v.
1. To remove something by ripping or tearing: She reached for the gift and tore off the wrapping paper. He grasped the sales tag and tore it off.
2. To remove something quickly: I unbuttoned my jacket and tore it off. The feverish patient tore off the covers.
3. To leave or drive off rapidly: The painting crew tore off in their van.
4. To produce something hurriedly and casually: The new reporter tears off article after article.
See also: off, tear

tear off

in. to break away; to run away. Don’t tear off without having some of my pie.
See also: off, tear

tore back

and to back (... ˈto ˈbæk)
torn back = hungover. (Black.) Man, was I to back!
See also: back, tore

tore (up)

and torn (up) and tore down
1. mod. distraught; emotionally upset. Fred’s really torn up about the accident.
2. mod. alcohol or drug intoxicated. He wasn’t just drunk—he was massively tore up.
See also: tore, up

tore down

verb
See also: down, tore

tore

verb