from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun Any of various agents that on dispersal, usually from grenades or projectiles, irritate the eyes and cause blinding tears.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun Any lachrymatory non-lethal chemical compound that causes the eyes to sting and water and/or irritates the respiratory system, mostly used for controlling crowds during riots or as self-defense.
  • verb To use tear gas.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun a gas that makes the eyes fill with tears but does not damage them; used in dispersing crowds


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  • "The Sixties were an era of extreme reality. I miss the smell of tear gas. I miss the fear of getting beaten.�?

    — Hunter S. Thompson in Independent on Sunday, 12 October 1997.

    October 30, 2008