Definition of tear someone/something down in US English:

tear someone/something down

phrasal verb

  • 1Demolish something, especially a building.

    • ‘Roughly 400 historical buildings have been torn down in the recent past, including beauties like the Hotel ‘Moskwa’.’
    • ‘This involves building walls and tearing them down.’
    • ‘India grows more prosperous, the outside world enters willy-nilly, old buildings are torn down.’
    • ‘Now Croydon was much like I remembered it, only some of the old buildings had been torn down and other buildings put up.’
    • ‘Old, rundown buildings are torn down to make way for the new.’
    • ‘The structure will incorporate a mansion on that corner which is protected as a historical site, but a four-storey building on Clark will be torn down.’
    • ‘Now, most of the buildings have been torn down, and the place is a sprawling park with 9,000 trees.’
    • ‘In 2003, there was a strong market for old houses, for which foreign buyers were paying 15 000 to 20 000 euro with the idea of tearing them down and building new ones.’
    • ‘Then after the day's filming her team had to rush back to the set they made last week to quickly tear it down, as the building it is housed in is scheduled for demolition today.’
    • ‘In the past five years, 15,000 buildings have been torn down in the city, more than 1,000 of them over a century old.’
    demolish, knock down, pull down, raze, raze to the ground, flatten, level, bulldoze
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  • 2US informal Criticize or punish someone severely.

    • ‘People with blind opinions, following a certain train of thought with no consideration for forming a 3-dimensional argument are just as content to tear another person down because of his or her political or personal beliefs.’
    • ‘There's a lot here we don't know but there's some that we've learned in recent weeks that does suggest that they really were out to get Wilson or criticize him or tear him down a bit.’
    • ‘Or was he a cruel and egotistical monster who tore people down to build himself up?’
    • ‘I think they decided that rather than tearing him down, they wanted to build him up.’
    • ‘Tonight you said that the politics of lifting people up beats the politics of tearing people down!’
    • ‘They try to build themselves up by tearing other people down, try to make them seem immoral or bad or wrong for being the way God made them.’
    • ‘Anytime there's any threat to their power, they tear people down.’
    • ‘I was so successful that they tore me down because my album was at number 2 instead of number 1.’
    • ‘They really tore him down so he had no choice but to come out at midnight and do something to repair his image.’
    • ‘Third, find a supportive community that validates and uplifts you instead of tearing you down.’