Why do we say 'tearing about' meaning rushing around in a rather haphazard way. I can't find the expression in any dictionary or thesaurus and am not sure if I am spelling it correctly. Most concerned it could die out if parents don't continue to use it to chastise lively children! Any ideas?
closed as general reference by Kris, Bill Franke, MετάEd, Hellion, Robusto Dec 27 '12 at 13:43
This question is too basic; it can be definitively and permanently answered by a single link to a standard internet reference source designed specifically to find that type of information. See the FAQ for guidance on how to improve it.
The core meaning of the verb tear expresses forceful action. When people tear about, in the Oxford English Dictionary’s definition they ‘move with violence or impetuosity’. Such usage is colloquial, but it has a long history, being first recorded in the seventeenth century.