I found this sentence describing a motorcycle (The person describing it is very impressed by the motorcycle, finds it very beautiful and magnificent):

It was mammoth, even at rest it seemed like a street fighter ready for a brawl, as if it wanted to tear off down the road, hovering over the asphalt.

I don't understand the meaning of "tear off down the road". How would you paraphrase it?

1 Answer 1


To "tear off" is a colloquialism that means to depart with great speed.

The hot-rod tore off down the street.

She was walking her dog in the park and it tore off after a squirrel.

The verb is to tear (which rhymes with "hair", not "beer"). It means "to speed". off means "away".

  • 1
    It may be helpful to specify which homograph is used in the expression (i.e. the one related to ripping rather than to crying).
    – Tashus
    Nov 20, 2018 at 22:00
  • Actually the quoted past tense forms make it clear. Oops.
    – Tashus
    Nov 20, 2018 at 22:01
  • 1
    That's OK, it can't hurt to add some info.
    – TimR
    Nov 20, 2018 at 22:02
  • Thank you. All these phrasal verbs are a real nightmare for a non-native speaker...
    – Cicc
    Nov 21, 2018 at 8:17

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