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tear1 - definition and synonyms

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noun [countable]     tear pronunciation in British English
Word Forms
  1. 1
    a drop of liquid that comes from your eye when you cry

    Her eyes filled with tears.

    tears of joy/laughter/rage etc:

    She welcomed Ian with tears of joy when he returned home.

    1. a.


      [plural] the state of crying
      in tears (=crying):

      I was left standing there in tears.

      burst into tears (=start crying suddenly):

      She slammed the phone down and burst into tears.

      close/near to tears (=almost crying):

      I was near to tears when she said goodbye.

      on the verge of tears (=almost crying):

      Colin saw I was on the verge of tears.

      fight back (the) tears (=try hard not to cry):

      She fought back the tears as she told us the dreadful news.

      reduce someone to tears (=make someone cry):

      He was well known for reducing his staff to tears.

  2. From our crowdsourced Open Dictionary
    to break into tears to start to cry suddenly

    Debbie broke into tears when her mom said that her dog had died.

    Submitted by Marise from Brazil on 30/04/2017
  3. From our crowdsourced Open Dictionary
    go on a tear mainly American to show a sudden burst of energy or activity

    I could go on a tear myself about lazy and unrepentant resort to journalese or fashion copy that makes me break out in hives.

    The economy in Brazil is on a tear.

    Submitted from United Kingdom on 05/01/2016
  4. From our crowdsourced Open Dictionary
    go on a/the tear Irish to go on a drinking binge

    Every once in a while I'd go off on a tear and the day after was usually a wash.

    Submitted from United Kingdom on 05/01/2016
See also


a lifestyle focussing on simple pleasures such as comfort and cosiness in the home, and spending time with friends and family

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a form of location that involves the underwater detonation of a bomb which causes sound waves that are picked up by ships

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