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"on a tear"

Posted by Lisa on July 07, 2004

I have been coming across the phrase "on a tear" a lot lately here in the US. I checked the OED and found the meanings "a spree (US slang)" and "a violent rage, passion" for the word tear, which seem to fit the general sense of the phrase. Has anyone else noticed this phrase cropping up a lot recently, or has it been around forever and I've just never caught it before? I don't see it listed on any of the cliche/idiom sites I've visited.