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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 note away from me when I started reading it out loud. We began tearing away the plaster from the wall to reveal a secret compartment containing hundreds of thousands of dollars.
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.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
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.
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.
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.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
Remove oneself unwillingly or reluctantly, as in I couldn't tear myself away from that painting. [Late 1700s]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs. Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.