tear gas


tear gas
/tear/
a gas that makes the eyes smart and water, thus producing a temporary blindness, used in modern warfare, to quell riots, etc.
[1915-20]

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Any of a group of substances, most often synthetic organic halogen compounds, that irritate the mucous membranes of the eyes, causing a stinging sensation and tears.

They may also irritate the upper respiratory tract, causing coughing, choking, and general debility. Tear gas was first used in warfare in World War I, but since its effects are short-lasting and rarely disabling, it came into use by law-enforcement agencies as a means of dispersing mobs, disabling rioters, and flushing out armed suspects without the use of deadly force.

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also called  Lacrimator,  

      any of a group of substances that irritate the mucous membranes of the eyes, causing a stinging sensation and tears. They may also irritate the upper respiratory tract, causing coughing, choking, and general debility. Tear gas was first used in World War I in chemical warfare, but since its effects are short-lasting and rarely disabling, it came into use by law-enforcement agencies as a means of dispersing mobs, disabling rioters, and flushing out armed suspects without the use of deadly force.

      The substances most often used as tear gases are synthetic organic halogen compounds; they are not true gases under ordinary conditions but are liquids or solids that can be finely dispersed in the air through the use of sprays, fog generators, or grenades and shells. The two most commonly used tear gases are ω-chloroacetophenone, or CN, and o-chlorobenzylidenemalononitrile, or CS. CN is the principal component of the aerosol agent Mace and is widely used in riot control. It affects chiefly the eyes. CS is a stronger irritant that causes burning sensations in the respiratory tract and involuntary closing of the eyes, but its effects wear off more quickly, after only 5 to 10 minutes of breathing fresh air. Other compounds used or suggested as tear gases include bromoacetone, benzyl bromide, ethyl bromoacetate, xylyl bromide, and α-bromobenzyl cyanide. The effects of tear gases are temporary and reversible in most cases. Gas masks with activated charcoal filters afford good protection against them.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • tear-gas — /tear gas /, v.t., tear gassed, tear gassing. to subject to tear gas. [1945 50] * * * tearˈ gas transitive verb To use tear gas on • • • Main Entry: ↑tear * * * tear gas «tihr», a gas that irritates the eyes and temporarily blinds them with tears …   Useful english dictionary

  • tear gas — tear′ gas [[t]tɪər[/t]] n. chem. a gas that makes the eyes smart and water, thus producing a temporary blindness, used in warfare, to quell riots, etc • Etymology: 1915–20 tear′ gas , tear′gas , v.t. gassed, gas•sing …   From formal English to slang

  • tear gas — [tir] n. a volatile liquid or gas that causes irritation of the eyes, a heavy flow of tears, and temporary blindness: used as in warfare or by the police tear gas vt. tear gassed, tear gassing …   English World dictionary

  • tear-gas — /tear gas /, v.t., tear gassed, tear gassing. to subject to tear gas. [1945 50] * * * …   Universalium

  • tear gas — n a solid, liquid, or gaseous substance that on dispersion in the atmosphere blinds the eyes with tears and is used chiefly in dispelling mobs * * * any of the several kinds of gas used in warfare and by the police to produce temporary… …   Medical dictionary

  • tear gas — [ˈtıə gæs US ˈtır ] n [U] a gas that stings your eyes, used by the police to control crowds ▪ The police used tear gas to break up the demonstration …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • tear gas — [ tır,gæs ] noun uncount a gas that makes your eyes sting, used especially by the police to control violent crowds …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • tear gas — ► NOUN ▪ gas that causes severe irritation to the eyes, used in warfare and riot control …   English terms dictionary

  • tear gas — noun a gas that makes the eyes fill with tears but does not damage them; used in dispersing crowds • Syn: ↑teargas, ↑lacrimator, ↑lachrymator • Hypernyms: ↑gas, ↑chemical weapon • Hyponyms: ↑ …   Useful english dictionary

  • tear gas — [[t]tɪ͟ə(r) gæs[/t]] also tear gas N UNCOUNT Tear gas is a gas that causes your eyes to sting and fill with tears so that you cannot see. It is sometimes used by the police or army to control crowds. Police used tear gas to disperse the… …   English dictionary


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