James Hetfield looks pretty tore up in those pics.

I saw this sentence here from a comment. I searched on the web and it seems that it has many meanings. So, I am not sure which one is correct.

My best guess is this one from the Urban Dictionary:

to get very drunk and pass out.

What is the truly intended meaning in that sentence? Is it a common expression? Are there other usages/meaning for this phrase?

It might be very helpful if one can explain the origin and as to why the phrase is used this way. Thanks!

  • 1
    That link has nothing to do w/James Hetfield photos, so it's hard to tell ... But it could mean: Messed up, haggard, worn out, old & busted, beat, has seen better days, past his prime, or maybe drunk/stoned.
    – mc01
    Jun 29, 2018 at 6:46
  • @mc01, did you see the reaction from Silbert Domina? He/she is the person who wrote the sentence.
    – dan
    Jun 29, 2018 at 6:56
  • I have to assume he was trying to be funny by saying he thinks Chelsea Handler looks like James Hetfield. Neat.
    – mc01
    Jun 29, 2018 at 7:52
  • @mc01 maybe, he meant in those pictures, Chelsea Handler looks like (when) James Hatfield being tore up? Is that a joke about?
    – dan
    Jun 29, 2018 at 8:46

1 Answer 1


This is a more informal/dialect-driven/less correct (opinions will vary on which it is) way of saying

James Hetfield looks pretty torn up in those pics.

Looking torn up is another way of saying that something looks run-down, worn, or broken-down.

A rather literal example:

If most of the area surrounding the Westerville Municipal Building looks torn up, it's because two construction projects are happening at the same time in front and back of the building at 21 S. State St. -- from a local news website.

Your example is possibly definition 3 of to tear up from MacMillan:

[tear someone up] to make someone feel very unhappy or upset

Example usage:

He looks torn-up as he stares at her -- from a description of social distress in a book.

Without context it's tough to tell, but your sentence may also be referring to someone who has been beaten in a fight:

Cory won but he looks torn up -- the caption on a photo of a boxer who just won a fight.

By the way, while the Urban Dictionary can be a great place to learn slang, because of the way it is crowdsourced it can also be full of hyper-local or simply incorrect definitions, so I would not rely on it heavily.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .