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?
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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.