tear gas

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tear gas / ti(ə)r/ • n. gas that causes severe irritation to the eyes, chiefly used in riot control to force crowds to disperse. • v. (tear-gas) [tr.] (usu. be tear-gassed) attack with tear gas.

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tear gas, gas that causes temporary blindness through the excessive flow of tears resulting from irritation of the eyes. The gas is used in chemical warfare and as a means for dispersing mobs. Compounds that cause lacrimation (watering of the eyes) include bromoacetone, benzyl bromide, chloroacetophenone, ethyl iodoacetate, chloropicrin bromobenzyl cyanide, and bromine-substituted xylenes. In warfare a lacrimating compound in liquid form is placed in bombs, shells, or grenades; when the device explodes, the liquid is dispersed as an aerosol.

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tear gas Chemical compound known as a lachrymator, a gas or aerosol that causes an excessive flow of tears. It blinds and incapacitates temporarily without causing permanent injury.