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Related to tears: crocodile tears

tear 1

v. tore (tôr), torn (tôrn), tear·ing, tears
a. To pull apart or into pieces by force; rend.
b. To cause to be pulled apart unintentionally, as by accident: tore my pants on the barbed wire.
c. To lacerate (the skin, for example).
2. To make (an opening) in something by pulling it apart or by accident: I tore a hole in my stocking.
3. To separate forcefully; wrench: tore the pipe from the wall.
4. To divide or disrupt: was torn between opposing choices; a country that was torn by strife.
1. To become torn: The fabric does not tear easily.
2. To move with heedless speed; rush headlong: tore off down the road; tore along the avenue.
1. The act of tearing.
2. The result of tearing; a rip or rent: The shirt has a small tear.
3. A great rush; a hurry.
4. Slang A carousal; a spree.
Phrasal Verbs:
tear around Informal
1. To move about in excited, often angry haste.
2. To lead a wild life.
tear at
1. To pull at or attack violently: The dog tore at the meat.
2. To distress greatly: Their plight tore at his heart.
tear away
To remove (oneself, for example) unwillingly or reluctantly.
tear down
1. To demolish: tear down old tenements.
2. To take apart; disassemble: tear down an engine.
3. To vilify or denigrate.
tear into
1. To attack with great energy: tore into his opponent.
2. To begin to do or eat something with great energy: tore into the meal.
tear off Informal
To produce hurriedly and casually: tearing off article after news article.
tear up
1. To tear to pieces.
2. To make an opening in: tore up the sidewalk to add a drain.
on a tear
In a state of intense, sustained activity: "After the Olympics, Bikila went on a tear, winning twelve of his next thirteen marathons" (Cameron Stracher).
tear (one's) hair
To be greatly upset or distressed.

[Middle English teren, from Old English teran; see der- in Indo-European roots.]

tear′er n.
Synonyms: tear1, rip1, rend, split, cleave1
These verbs mean to separate or pull apart by force. Tear involves pulling something apart or into pieces: "She tore the letter in shreds" (Edith Wharton).
Rip implies rough or forcible tearing: Carpenters ripped up the old floorboards. Rend usually refers to violent tearing or wrenching apart and often appears in figurative contexts: The air was rent by thunder. The party was rent by factionalism. To split is to cut or break something into parts or layers, especially along its entire length or along a natural line of division: "They [wood stumps] warmed me twice—once while I was splitting them, and again when they were on the fire" (Henry David Thoreau).
Cleave most often refers to splitting with a sharp instrument: The butcher cleft the side of beef into smaller portions.

tear 2

a. A drop of the clear salty liquid that is secreted by the lachrymal gland of the eye to lubricate the surface between the eyeball and eyelid and to wash away irritants.
b. tears A profusion of this liquid spilling from the eyes and wetting the cheeks, especially as an expression of emotion.
c. tears The act of weeping: criticism that left me in tears.
2. A drop of a liquid or hardened fluid.
intr.v. teared, tear·ing, tears
To become filled with tears: The strong wind caused my eyes to tear.
Phrasal Verb:
tear up
1. To have tears well in the eyes: At the funeral, the mourners began to tear up.
2. To cause to have tears well in the eyes: By the movie's end, the whole audience was teared up.

[Middle English ter, from Old English tēar; see dakru- in Indo-European roots.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


pl n
1. (Physiology) the clear salty solution secreted by the lacrimal glands that lubricates and cleanses the surface of the eyeball and inner surface of the eyelids.
2. a state of intense frustration (esp in the phrase bored to tears)
3. in tears weeping
4. without tears presented so as to be easily assimilated: reading without tears.
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014



See Also: CRYING

  1. Could feel the tears, like fire, coming up —James Baldwin
  2. Feel the tears brimming and sloshing in me like water in a glass that is unsteady and too full —Sylvia Plath
  3. Generally men’s tears, like the droppings of certain springs, only harden and petrify what they fall on —Walter Savage Landor
  4. He [a weeping man] was like a sponge saturated with water, and then squeezed —Leonid Andreyev
  5. Like a summer tempest came her tears —Lord Alfred Tennyson

    This also appears as a chapter title in Kenneth Grahame’s contemporary children’s classic, The Wind in the Willows.

  6. My tears like berries fell down —W. B. Yeats
  7. Produce tears freely like a great actor —Erich Maria Remarque
  8. Slow as the winter snow the tears have drifted to mine eyes —Elizabeth Barrett Browning
  9. Suspended like shimmering icicles on Maxell’s cheeks were tears —Arthur A. Cohen
  10. A teardrop hung out of each blue eye, like a fat woman leaning out of a tenement window —Tom Robbins
  11. Teardrops come a-splashin’ down his cheeks like summer rain —Edward A. Guest
  12. A tear had slipped down to dangle like sweat at the tip of a nostril —Truman Capote
  13. A tear ran down her cheek, turning white with powder, like a tiny ball of snow —Jonathan Valin
  14. Tears … brightened her eyes and made them glitter like dark stars in a stormy sky —Frank Swinnerton
  15. Tears died as laughter dies away —Dante Gabriel Rossetti
  16. Tears fall like soft fruit juice —Rose Tremain
  17. Tears fell like a plot —Stevie Smith
  18. Tears fill up her eyes like a cup —Jessie Schell
  19. Tears … flailing my face like the torn ends of shattered rope —John Updike
  20. Tears flooded out of his eyes like the floodwater over a levee —Pat Conroy
  21. Tears … flowed down upon him like a bower of willows —Arthur A. Cohen
  22. Tears … flowed like fountains —William Wordsworth

    A twist by Guy De Maupassant: “Wept like a fountain.”

  23. Tears flow … like a swollen gutter gushing through the streets —Henry Fielding
  24. Tears gathered like small pools in the declivation of his eye cups —Arthur A. Cohen
  25. Tears glittered in her eyes, deep down, like the sinking reflection of a well —Louise Erdrich
  26. Tears glittered like rhinestones on her lashes —Ross Macdonald
  27. Tears, like a stream, like a ceaselessly flowing fountain, flowed and flowed —Nikolai V. Gogol
  28. Tears like bits of glass formed in his eyes —Leonard Michaels
  29. Tears like molten lead surged in her eyes —Ruth Prawer Jhabvala
  30. Tears … like two little brooks —Carson McCullers
  31. Tears … made patterns on his cheeks, like wax trickling down a candle —Julia O’Faolain
  32. Tears on his lashes, like silver drops of dew —Ruth Prawer Jhabvala
  33. Tears rolled down like rain —Elizabeth Spencer
  34. Tears … roll one from each eye, like droplets on wax fruit —Ira Wood
  35. Tears running down like lemonade —Anne Sexton
  36. Tears rushed forth … like mountain mists at length dissolved in rain —Lord Byron

    This simile from Byron’s famous Don Juan has been slightly modernized and shortened. The original first line begins “The tears rush’d forth from her o’erclouded brain, like …”

  37. The tears seemed to cause the features of her face to melt and soften like hot wax —George Garrett
  38. Tears, silent as a china egg —Marge Piercy
  39. Tears, small as sequins, glinting in her narrowed eyes —Miles Gibson
  40. Tears streamed down her cheeks, soft and bland like the sides of a Guernsey —John Updike
  41. Tears that slipped like melting pellets of sleet down their grieved and angered cheeks —Alice Walker
  42. Tears that streamed ceaselessly like a veil to keep her from seeing too clearly —Paul Horgan
  43. Tears … they deluge my heart like the rain —Emily Brontë
  44. Tears welled up as freely as water from a drinking fountain —Jean Stafford
  45. Though the tears had no healing power, they took off the edge of it [pain], like cold water on a burn —Margaret Drabble
  46. A woman’s tears, like a dog’s limping, are seldom real —Russian proverb
Similes Dictionary, 1st Edition. © 1988 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.Tears - the process of shedding tears (usually accompanied by sobs or other inarticulate sounds)tears - the process of shedding tears (usually accompanied by sobs or other inarticulate sounds); "I hate to hear the crying of a child"; "she was in tears"
snivel, sniveling - whining in a tearful manner
sobbing, sob - convulsive gasp made while weeping
bawling, wailing - loud cries made while weeping
bodily function, bodily process, body process, activity - an organic process that takes place in the body; "respiratory activity"
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.


plural noun crying, weeping, sobbing, wailing, whimpering, blubbering, lamentation She was very near to tears.
in tears weeping, crying, sobbing, whimpering, blubbering, visibly moved He was in tears at the funeral.
Related words
adjectives lacrimal, lachrymal, or lacrymal
Collins Thesaurus of the English Language – Complete and Unabridged 2nd Edition. 2002 © HarperCollins Publishers 1995, 2002
References in classic literature ?
forgive me!" She stopped and breathed still more quickly, but did not shed tears.
He felt the tears trickle under his spectacles and hoped they would not be noticed.
Old Hannah never wearied of concocting dainty dishes to tempt a capricious appetite, dropping tears as she worked, and from across the sea came little gifts and cheerful letters, seeming to bring breaths of warmth and fragrance from lands that know no winter.
Often when she woke Jo found Beth reading in her well-worn little book, heard her singing softly, to beguile the sleepless night, or saw her lean her face upon her hands, while slow tears dropped through the transparent fingers, and Jo would lie watching her with thoughts too deep for tears, feeling that Beth, in her simple, unselfish way, was trying to wean herself from the dear old life, and fit herself for the life to come, by sacred words of comfort, quiet prayers, and the music she loved so well.
I remember throwing myself upon my father's neck, and beseeching him with tears to stay in the country a little longer; but he bid me be silent, and my mother, adding her tears to mine, explained that business matters compelled us to go.
Thus I would ponder, until at length tears of sorrow would softly gush forth and choke my bosom, and drive the lessons out of my head.
The Winkies lifted him tenderly in their arms, and carried him back to the Yellow Castle again, Dorothy shedding a few tears by the way at the sad plight of her old friend, and the Lion looking sober and sorry.
When, at last, he walked into Dorothy's room and thanked her for rescuing him, he was so pleased that he wept tears of joy, and Dorothy had to wipe every tear carefully from his face with her apron, so his joints would not be rusted.
Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
Nevertheless it is hardly fair To risk your heart for a dog to tear.
Becky snatched at the book to close it, and had the hard luck to tear the pictured page half down the middle.
"Rebecca Thatcher" [Tom glanced at her face -- it was white with terror] -- "did you tear -- no, look me in the face" [her hands rose in appeal] -- "did you tear this book?"