From Longman Dictionary of Contemporary Englishteartear1 /tɪə $ tɪr/ ●●● S2 W3 noun 1 [countable usually plural]HBH a drop of salty liquid that comes out of your eye when you are crying The children were all in tears. She came home in floods of tears. I could see that Sam was close to tears. Bridget suddenly burst into tears and ran out. He was fighting back tears as he spoke. A lot of people were moved to tears by his story. He kissed her cheek, a gesture that brought tears to her eyes. I must admit I shed a few tears when the school closed. I saw grown men reduced to tears that day. ‘Please don’t talk like that, ’ Ellen implored him, her eyes filling with tears. By this time, tears were streaming down my face. The tears he shed were tears of joy.2 → it’ll (all) end in tears → bore somebody to tears at bore2(1), → crocodile tears at crocodile(4)COLLOCATIONSphrasesbe in tears (=be crying)When Evelyn put the phone down, she was in tears.be in floods of tears British English (=be crying a lot)By the time she left, she was in floods of tears.be close to/on the verge of tears (=be almost crying)He could see that May was close to tears.there are tears in somebody’s eyesAs she watched, there were tears of joy in her eyes.tears of joy/frustration/rage etcThe tears he shed were tears of joy.verbsburst into tears (=suddenly start crying)She burst into tears and begged me to stay.break down in tears (=suddenly start crying)I broke down in tears when I read the letter.be moved to tears (=be so upset that you cry)Members of the audience were moved to tears by her singing.bring tears to somebody’s eyes (=make someone cry)This unexpected kindness brings tears to my eyes.reduce somebody to tears (=make someone cry)His insults had reduced her to tears, but she had not changed her mind.hold back the tears (=not cry even though you feel like crying)She gave her version of events, often struggling to hold back the tears.fight/choke/blink back tears (=try not to cry)She fought back tears yesterday as she re-lived the horrors she had seen.shed/weep tears (=cry)Don’t shed any tears for him.somebody’s eyes fill with tearsHis eyes filled with tears as he recalled his mother’s sacrifices.tears well up in somebody’s eyes (=tears come into their eyes)She broke off, feeling the tears welling up in her eyes.tears run/roll/stream down somebody’s faceOliver laughed until tears ran down his face.adjectivesbitter tearsShe wept bitter tears of remorse for leaving her children behind.hot tearsI felt the hot tears running down my face.
Examples from the Corpustear• tear-stained cheeks• Is that a tear on your face?• I remember it as if I were still standing there, streaked with blood and dust and tears, talking to her.• I snarled, Josefina added terror to her tears and somehow we got through.• Its last 15 minutes had me right where the filmmakers wanted me, which was in tears.• There's a small tear near the corner of the painting.• He had had visions, striding back to Bedford Square, of proper love-making, of tenderness, perhaps some tears.• How did you get that tear in your jacket?• This time was no different and my master left Syon with the tears streaming down his face.• His parents' faces turn ashen when they first see him, then they smile through their tears.tears of joy• I was in tears of joy.• But their tears were tears of joy and gratitude.• There were tears of joy and emotion.• Whether they were tears of joy or sorrow, she could not say.• Eumaeus greeted him with tears of joy and begged him to sit and eat.• Maybe one man with tears of joy and one with tears of sorrow.• But Mrs Taylor began crying even more, this time with tears of joy and relief that her babies were safe.teartear2 /teə $ ter/ ●●● S2 W3 verb (past tense tore /tɔː $ tɔːr/, past participle torn /tɔːn $ tɔːrn/) 1 paper/cloth a) [transitive]TEAR to damage something such as paper or cloth by pulling it hard or letting it touch something sharp SYN rip Be careful not to tear the paper. His clothes were old and torn.tear something on something She realized she had torn her jacket on a nail.tear something off Tear off the slip at the bottom of this page and send it back to us.tear something out (of something) He tore a page out of his notebook and handed it to her. The dog had torn a huge hole in the tent. He picked up the envelope and tore it open. She tore the letter to pieces and threw it in the bin. Most of her clothes had been torn to shreds. b) [intransitive]TEAR if paper or cloth tears, it splits and a hole appears, because it has been pulled too hard or has touched something sharp The paper is old and tears easily.► see thesaurus at break2 move quickly [intransitive always + adverb/preposition]RUN to run or drive somewhere very quickly, especially in a dangerous or careless way She tore back into the house. We tore down to the hospital. He tore off into town.► see thesaurus at run3 remove something [transitive always + adverb/preposition]PULL to pull something violently from a person or placetear something from somebody/something He tore the letter from my hand. A bridge was torn from the bank by the floodwaters.tear something off something High winds nearly tore the roof off the house.4 → be torn5 muscle [transitive]MIDAMAGE to damage a muscle or ligament She had torn a muscle in her leg.6 → tear loose7 → tear somebody/something to shreds/pieces8 → tear somebody off a strip/tear a strip off somebody9 → tear somebody limb from limb10 → be tearing your hair out11 → be in a tearing hurry12 → tear somebody’s heart (out)/tear at somebody’s heart13 → that’s torn it!COLLOCATIONSphrasestear a hole in somethingShe caught her shawl on a nail and tore a hole in it.tear something openShe tore open the envelope.tear something to pieces/shredsThe dogs tore the meat to pieces.tear something in two (also tear something in half)Jack snatched the letter from him and tore it in two. THESAURUStear to damage paper or cloth by pulling it too hard, or letting it touch something sharpShe unwrapped the present carefully, trying not to tear the paper.I tore a hole in my jacket, climbing over the fence.rip to tear something quickly or violentlyBeth excitedly ripped open the package.Stop pulling my dress! You’ll rip it!split to tear your trousers or shirt when you put them on, because they are too tight for youHe bent down and split his trousers.Oh no, now I’ve split my shirt.ladder British English if a woman ladders her tights or stockings, she tears them so that a long thin line appears in themDamn! I’ve laddered my tights!snag to catch a piece of clothing on something rough or sharp so that it tears slightlyI snagged my shirt on a nail.shred to deliberately destroy letters, documents etc by cutting them into thin pieces, often by using a special machineIn order to prevent fraud, it’s best to shred your bank statements.I went through all my papers shredding things I didn’t need.frayed torn a little along the edges – used about clothes, carpets etc that have been used a lotHe was wearing an old pair of frayed jeans.The rug was a little frayed around the edges.The jacket was a little frayed at the cuffs. → tear somebody/something apart → tear at somebody/something → tear somebody away → tear something ↔ down → tear into somebody/something → tear something ↔ off → tear something ↔ up→ See Verb table
Examples from the Corpustear• My jacket caught on a nail and tore.• Don't pull on the cloth, it will tear.• I tore a hole in my jacket, climbing over the fence.• I tore a hole in my new blouse.• She tore a page out of her diary and wrote her phone number on it.• Forays had been made at night; scaffolding had been torn down and a few workers employed in building Carewscourt had been killed.• Be careful, the paper tears easily.• Careful - the paper is very old and tears easily.• He walked hesitatingly forward, his skin tensed for the feeling of metal tearing flesh.• Martell has been torn from his wife and stepchildren.• He took my ticket and tore it in half. "Row J, seats 8 and 9."• Celia grabbed the envelope and tore it open.• If they start building here, it will be like tearing my heart out.• Mary tore off downstairs, determined to see the visitors for herself.• The attendant tore off the parking ticket and handed it back.• Peterson tore open the envelope.• A masked man came tearing out of the bank and jumped into a waiting car.• Don't tear pages out of the book.• Bobby tore past, shouting something about being late for work.• He tore the envelope open, his mind full of various pleasing conjectures.• I had torn the knees of my jeans on the rough gravel.• She unwrapped the present carefully, trying not to tear the paper.• Surely tearing up the Pope's picture was meant as a symbolic gesture, not a personal affront.• Worthy mentors work to build you up, not tear you down.• How did you tear your pocket?tore ... open• Muttering some vulgar exorcism to avert the jinx, Juron tore the panel open.• Amelia tore the envelope open and laughed.• Luce tore it open and read: When I tried to ring you I was told that the Diomede number is ex-directory.• She tore open his shirt and began cardiopulmonary resuscitation.• He tore open the cupboard door and peered at the tiny porthole of glass on the front of the central heating boiler.• Frantically she tore open the door to Elinor's apartment.• She tore open the envelope, ignoring the paper knife Penman laid ready for her each day.• When the twig tore the pocket open the letter had dropped out.teartear3 /teə $ ter/ noun [countable] TEARa hole in a piece of cloth or paper where it has been torntear in There was a huge tear in his shirt. → wear and tear at wear2(2)
Examples from the Corpustear• I remember it as if I were still standing there, streaked with blood and dust and tears, talking to her.• Its last 15 minutes had me right where the filmmakers wanted me, which was in tears.• He had had visions, striding back to Bedford Square, of proper love-making, of tenderness, perhaps some tears.• This time was no different and my master left Syon with the tears streaming down his face.• His parents' faces turn ashen when they first see him, then they smile through their tears.• They had to use tear gas to drive off the rioters.teartear4 /tiə $ tɪr/ verb [intransitive] especially American English if your eyes tear, they produce salty liquid, for example because of cold air or smoke SYN water Why does cutting up onions make my eyes tear? → tear up→ See Verb tableOrigin tear2 Old English teran