tear apart

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tear apart

1. To violently rip or pull someone or something into pieces. A 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 apart their prey.
2. For a disagreement, problem, or outside factor to cause division in or force the dissolution of a relationship or group, such as of a romantic couple, family members, or organization. A noun or pronoun can be used between "tear" and "apart." The death of a child is the most calamitous thing anyone can experience, and it ends up tearing many couples apart. It's such a shame to see a family torn apart by squabbles over money. The issue has been tearing the community apart for months.
3. To criticize or reproach someone or something in a severe and merciless manner. A noun or pronoun can be used between "tear" and "apart." The reviews absolutely tore apart the sequel, but I don't think it was that bad. 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. A noun or pronoun can be used between "tear" and "apart." 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 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. Burglars tore the place apart looking for anything valuable.
See also: apart, tear

tear a place apart

Fig. to search somewhere to the point of destruction. The cops came with a search warrant and tore your room apart. If you don't come up with the money you kept for us, we'll tear apart your house!
See also: apart, place, 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 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 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 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 someone/something apart

tv. to criticize someone or something severely. I was late, and the boss tore me apart.
References in periodicals archive ?
What better way to respond to human needs than to help reconstruct the 300,000 lives that have been torn apart?
"Everybody ought to be flattened and the ship torn apart before it could get anywhere near that speed," Coyle says.
Chief executive officers see their work force and income statements torn apart by AIDS, as personnel lose their lives and health care costs soar, respectively.
If they were to be separated, they had to be torn apart.
Told from the point of view of Adam, a boy with Asperger's syndrome, this novel tracks the experiences of a family in Syria who experience the pain of being torn apart by war.
Workers have had their livelihoods destroyed, reputations tarnished and in some cases families torn apart."
A FAMILY torn apart after fleeing a war-torn African country have finally been reunited in Scotland.
"It doesn't take much common sense to understand the pain and terror felt by that cat as it was torn apart by these dogs.
<![CDATA[ The boycott of Israel, adopted by some Italian chains, is torn apart in the Italian press by this courageous Member of Parliament.
The programme served a salutary reminder of our soldiers, who have their lives and limbs torn apart in a war not of their making, returning to Selly Oak Hospital to face numerous operations for their horrific injuries.
Our cultures may be in conflict but the church dare not allow itself to be torn apart over such differences.
However, in a place torn apart by religious wars, fierce beliefs intensify.
A GANG of three or four youths with Liverpoool accents set a bull terrier on a sheep and laughed as they filmed it being torn apart. In an added cruel twist, the video clip is being sent to mobilephone users in the Wirral.
Hampered by self-doubt and the effects of two decades in a slave camp, the new pontiff must negotiate a peace between the world's warring superpowers while struggling to keep the church from being torn apart by its struggles with modernity.