tear somebody/something to pieces/shreds

tear (someone or something) to pieces

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 pieces, but I still think it's going to be great." I hear John's bosses tore him to pieces 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 pieces. Sarah's very first opponent in amateur boxing tore her to pieces, but that's how it goes for most novice fighters.
See also: piece, 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

tear through (something)

1. To perforate, lacerate, or rip through something with great speed or force. The child tore through the wrapping paper with manic excitement. I ended up tearing through the canvas as I tried to scrape some of the dried paint away.
2. To move through something or some place with great speed, especially in a headlong, reckless manner. It's no wonder you got hurt with the way you've been tearing through the kitchen like that! The burglar tore through the mall, with security guards in hot pursuit.
3. To cause a great amount of destruction while moving rapidly through something or some place. The hurricane tore through the town, leveling everything in its path. With all the dusty old books we keep in this warehouse, a fire would absolutely tear through the place, so we've got to be especially careful that nothing like that ever happens.
4. To progress through something with great speed or efficiency. You're going to make yourself sick tearing through your dinner like that. I used to tear through books when I was younger. Now, I'm lucky if I can get through one a month.
See also: tear, through

tear someone or something to pieces

 and tear someone or something to shreds
to rip or shred someone or something into bits. Careful of that dog. It will tear you to pieces! The dog tore the newspaper to pieces. It tore my shoes to shreds.
See also: piece, tear

tear somebody/something to ˈpieces/ˈshreds

criticize somebody/something; completely destroy something: The press tore the Government’s economic plans to shreds.The Prime Minister tore his opponents’ arguments to pieces. OPPOSITE: praise somebody/something to the skies