tear up(redirected from tear them up)
1. To violently rip or pull someone or something into pieces. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "tear" and "up." Make sure you tear up any papers that have your personal details on them. The pack of wolves tore the poor traveler up.
2. To cancel or nullify some contract or agreement. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "tear" and "up." He tore up the contract when he realized how little he would be paid for his work. I had no idea they would tear our deal up if we sought outside investments.
3. To pierce or rupture the surface of something. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "tear" and "up." Please don't leave your snow chains on the car after the snow melts, it tears up the roads! Rubbing against that brick wall really tore my skin up.
4. To cause someone a great deal of pain, sadness, distress, or guilt. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "tear" and "up." Can't you see you're tearing Jane up? Why do you have to treat her that way? That documentary really tore me up. I still feel so hopeless after watching it. He's still really torn up about what happened, you know.
5. To well up as if to cry; to have tears begin to appear in one's eyes. I always tear up at weddings. I noticed Janet tearing up during the speeches.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
tear someone up
Fig. to cause someone much grief. (See also tear someone apart.) The news of Tom's death really tore Bill up. Bad news tears up some people. Other people can take it calmly.
tear something up
to rip someone or something to pieces. The two drunks tore the bar up in their brawling. The dog tore up the newspaper.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
1. To have tears well in the eyes: During the funeral, the mourners started to tear up.
2. To cause someone to have tears well in the eyes: I always bring tissues to sad movies because they really tear me up.
1. To tear something to pieces: The principal tore up the note so no one could read it. I tore the newspaper up to make a nest for my pet hamster.
2. To nullify some legal agreement: The parties reached a compromise and tore up the old contract. We couldn't settle the case, so we tore the agreement up.
3. To make an opening in something: The workers tore up the sidewalk to add a drain. The committee condemned the unsafe playground and had some workers come to tear it up.
4. To damage someone or something by or as if by tearing: The puppy tore up the furniture. The kids tore the couch up.
5. To ravage or devastate something: The typhoon tore up the islands. This beach has eroded because a storm tore it up.
6. To distress someone greatly: It tears me up to think he won't be coming home. It tears up the students when they think about the football game that they lost.
7. To excel at some place or competition: The team tore up the chess tournament and won a medal. Our school had the winning team—we tore the competition up.
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.
tear someone up
tv. to cause someone much grief. (see also tore (up).) The situation really tore up his father.
tear someone/something up
tv. to rip someone or something to pieces. The two drunks tore the bar up the best they could.
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 tore up
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.