Definition of tear gas in US English:

tear gas


  • Gas that causes severe irritation to the eyes, chiefly used in riot control to force crowds to disperse.

    • ‘As protestors began to march, riot police used tear gas and water cannons to contain the students on campus.’
    • ‘Street battles developed with police using water cannon and tear gas against the demonstrators.’
    • ‘Police resorted to a lathicharge and fired 15 rounds of tear gas shells to disperse the mob.’
    • ‘I treated so many injuries from people hit by tear gas canisters and also those hit by rubber or plastic bullets.’
    • ‘Police threw tear gas canisters into the crowd, injuring some of the workers.’
    • ‘At least five people suffered minor injuries in the unrest as riot police fired tear gas into the crowd.’
    • ‘Riot police were finally mobilised and dispersed the protesters using tear gas.’
    • ‘Police and military forces tried to disperse the crowd with gunshots, water cannons and tear gas.’
    • ‘The security forces countered with tear gas and water cannons to try to disperse the crowd.’
    • ‘Indonesian police fired warning shots, tear gas and water cannon to try and disperse the crowd.’
    • ‘Both demonstrations ended with riot police spraying tear gas on the crowd.’
    • ‘A special vehicle has been developed, armed with a machine gun and multiple tear gas launchers.’
    • ‘He told the court he had ordered the use of tear gas and rubber bullets to quell rioting prisoners but not firearms.’
    • ‘Police officers fired tear gas and rubber bullets into the crowd, and used water canons to break up the protest.’
    • ‘There were stones and rubber bullets and tear gas canisters and a trampled doll in the street.’
    • ‘Eggs were thrown at the British consulate in Venice and police fired tear gas to disperse demonstrators.’
    • ‘They used tear gas and water cannons in an attempt to disperse the protesters.’
    • ‘Water cannons, tear gas and rubber bullets were used against peaceful protesters.’
    • ‘Police wielded batons and lobbed tear gas shells to disperse crowds and take control of the streets.’
    • ‘Police responded with water-cannon trucks, tear gas and four-inch plastic bullets.’


[with object]usually be tear-gassed
  • Attack with tear gas.

    • ‘At this point the imaginary cops are throwing me down and tear-gassing me, so I retreat from the Wonderful World of My Imagination, back into the far-safer reality.’
    • ‘However, after the incident when villagers were shifting the injured to District Hospital Doda police tear-gassed them in the town, which aggravated the problem, said reports.’
    • ‘Some protestors were still shouting the slogan ‘No violence, the world is watching’ as the police tear-gassed demonstrators and bodily picked them off the street.’
    • ‘In the most shocking example, a group of pacifist Christian anti-debt campaigners, accompanied by children, were tear-gassed simply, it seemed, for being there.’
    • ‘The television blares images of police tear-gassing blockades on street corners only a few blocks away.’
    • ‘Like us, they were tear-gassed; today we know that tear gas is carcinogenic and teratrogenic.’
    • ‘Starting at 10 am and finishing when the police tear-gassed the bar, England fans drank all day, with many bars running out of draught beer.’
    • ‘On the same day, two elderly Palestinian men sitting in front of bulldozers briefly stopped construction in the Salfit region, before the men were tear-gassed.’
    • ‘She almost guaranteed that we would be tear-gassed, but everyone would be looking out for it, and would work together to make sure people stayed safe and remained calm.’
    • ‘Assuming the hole hasn't been closed (and cockpit access isn't bolted down), what's to stop someone from tear-gassing everyone on board and gaining control again?’
    • ‘South African police tear-gassed churchgoers and arrested at least three worshippers in a black township near Johannesburg.’
    • ‘I've seen my daughter's childhood totally destroyed, living in fear, being tear-gassed, and living under curfew.’
    • ‘At the mail centre at Johannesburg International Airport, striking workers were tear-gassed, arrested and later released.’
    • ‘Scores of children were killed, maimed, jailed and tear-gassed by apartheid police during the uprising.’
    • ‘They tear-gassed the offices and harassed reporters.’
    • ‘Clashes took place outside the Maradana police station in Colombo, where police tear-gassed demonstrators and baton charged the crowd.’
    • ‘If it was cars or clothes on offer, they would be tear-gassing the mob as they surged across the forecourts of Ireland's garages, cash in hand.’
    • ‘It was outrageous, he says happily: He was tear-gassed by the police as he sat on the ground meditating.’
    • ‘If they were going to be tear-gassed or pepper-sprayed, then they wouldn't have to change their clothes and it wouldn't burn their skin.’
    • ‘Military soldiers arrived and tear-gassed the protesting farmers.’


tear gas

/ˈtir ˌɡas//ˈtɪr ˌɡæs/