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I am quoting from The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes, Silver Blaze:

Holmes shook his head.'A clever counsel would tear it all to rags'.

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    It is figurative: a good lawyer would destroy the proposed evidence/defence. 'Destroy' in the sense of showing it to be worthless. Jul 13 '20 at 9:08
  • 1
    This is figurative language; if you destroy something made of cloth by tearing it to pieces, those pieces are only useful as rags. Jul 13 '20 at 9:37
  • Thank you guys I was confused because I thaught it was a phrasal verb but I still couldn't find it in dictionaries now it is very clear thank you very much
    – aissam
    Jul 13 '20 at 9:53
  • 1
    Hello @aissam! You may be interested in English Language Learners Jul 13 '20 at 10:20
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The question was answered, and the answer was accepted in the comments:

It is figurative: a good lawyer would destroy the proposed evidence/defence. 'Destroy' in the sense of showing it to be worthless. – Weather Vane Jul 13 at 9:08

This is figurative language; if you destroy something made of cloth by tearing it to pieces, those pieces are only useful as rags. – Michael Harvey Jul 13 at 9:37

Thank you guys I was confused because I thaught it was a phrasal verb but I still couldn't find it in dictionaries now it is very clear thank you very much – aissam Jul 13 at 9:53

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