Meaning of “tear” in the English Dictionary

"tear" in English

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uk /teər/ us /ter/ tore, torn

tearnoun [ C ]

uk /teər/ us /ter/

a hole in a piece of paper, cloth, or other material, where it has been torn


uk /tɪər/ us /tɪr/

B1 [ C usually plural ] a drop of salty liquid that flows from the eye, as a result of strong emotion, especially unhappiness, or pain:

Did you notice the tears in his eyes when he talked about Diane?
Why do arguments with you always reduce me to tears (= make me cry)?
I won't shed (any) tears (= I will not be unhappy) when he goes, I can tell you!
burst into tears

B1 to suddenly start to cry

in tears

B1 crying:

I found him in tears in his bedroom.

tearverb [ I ]

uk /tɪər/ us /tɪr/

(Definition of “tear” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"tear" in American English

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tearnoun [ C usually pl ]

us /tɪər/

a drop of salty liquid that flows from the eye when it is hurt or as a result of strong emotion, esp. unhappiness or pain:

By the end of the movie I had tears in my eyes (= I was ready to cry).
The boy had lost his money and was in tears (= crying).


us /teər/ past tense tore /tɔr, toʊr/ , past participle torn /tɔrn, toʊrn/

tear verb (PULL APART)

[ I/T ] to pull or be pulled apart or away from something else, or to cause this to happen to something:

[ T ] I caught my shirt on a nail and tore the sleeve.
[ T ] I tore a hole in my sleeve.
[ T ] Several pages had been torn out of the book.
[ M ] She tore off a strip of bandage and wrapped it around the wound.
[ M ] He angrily tore the letter up (= into small pieces).
[ M ] They tore down (= destroyed) the old building.
[ M ] fig. The political situation threatened to tear the country apart.

tear verb (HURRY)

[ I always + adv/prep ] infml to move very quickly; to rush:

She was late and went tearing around the house looking for her car keys.

tearnoun [ C ]

us /ter, tær/

tear noun [ C ] (OPENING)

a hole or opening in something that is made by pulling apart or away from something else:

There’s a tear in the lining of my coat.

(Definition of “tear” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)