Tear vs. Tare

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Tear and tare are two words that are pronounced in the same way but are spelled differently and have different meanings, which makes them homophones. We will examine the definitions of tear and tare, where these words came from and some examples of their use in sentences.

A tear is a hole in something caused by being pulled apart, forcefully. Tear is also used as a verb to mean to pull something apart, forcefully, or to rip something because of being stretched beyond its limits. In the United States, tear is also used as a noun to mean a rampage or a brief period of erratic behavior. Related words are tears, tore, tearing. The word tear is derived from the Old English word teran meaning to tear.

Tare is the weight of the packaging of an item, or the weight of the container or vehicle carrying that item. Tare weight is subtracted when weighing something that is to be shipped, in order to know the true net weight of an item. The word tare is derived from the medieval Latin word tara, meaning deduct.


Germany’s new foreign minister on Monday urged the Palestinians “not to tear down bridges,” an apparent reference to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s contentious relationship with the US. (The Times of Israel)

Australia’s Test naming rights sponsor has torn up its deal, as player sponsors also jump ship in the wake of the ball-tampering scandal. (The Queensland Times)

When DeMarcus Cousins tore his Achilles’ tendon back in January, it looked as if it might finally be curtains for them both — only for the Pelicans to go on a tear thanks to stellar play from Anthony Davis. (The Washington Post)

MaxiTrans has launched a new version of its MaxiCube refrigerated van, including what the company says is an optimised tare weight and a leading thermal conductivity, or K-value, following a range of thermal efficiency upgrades. (Australasian Transport News)

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