Sally M (sallymn) wrote in 1word1day,
Sally M

Sunday Word: Lachrymose

lachrymose [lak-ruh-mohs]

1 Tearful or given to weeping, given to shedding tears readily
2 Tending to cause tears; sad


His tone had never been so lachrymose , nor his face so full of woe. (Anthony Trollope, The Bertrams)

But women must beware of sham emotion and lachrymose sentimentality. (C Gasquoine Hartley, The Truth About Woman)

February was sobbing and blustering its lachrymose way into March, when she received a letter from the Dean. (Dorothy L Sayers, Gaudy Night)

The stipulation for a contestant on The X Factor is an uncontrollable vibrato and a great deal of cancer in the family. The show will drag its sugary slug trail of sentimentality from now until the traditional Christmas single of an overproduced 1980s ballad doused with a lachrymose orchestra. (Adrian Gill, The Best of A A Gill, 1995)


1660s, 'tear-like,' from Latin lacrimosus 'tearful, sorrowful, weeping,' also 'causing tears, lamentable,' from lacrima 'tear,' a dialect-altered borrowing of Greek dakryma 'tear,' from dakryein 'to shed tears,' from dakry 'tear,' from PIE dakru-/draku-. Meaning 'given to tears, tearful' is first attested 1727; meaning 'of a mournful character' is from 1822. The -d- to -l- alteration in Latin is the so-called 'Sabine -L-,' cf. Latin olere 'smell,' from root of odor, and Ulixes , the Latin form of Greek Odysseus . The -y- is pedantic, from belief in a Greek origin. Middle English had lacrymable 'tearful' (mid-15c.). (Online Etymology Dictionary)

The adjective 'lachrymose' comes from Latin lacrimosus (from the noun lacrima, meaning 'tear'). 'Lachrymose' didn't appear in English until around 1727, but another closely related adjective can be traced back to the late 16th century. This earlier cousin, 'lachrymal' (sometimes spelled 'lacrimal,' particularly in its scientific applications), has a scientific flavor and is defined as 'of, relating to, or being glands that produce tears' or 'of, relating to, or marked by tears.' In contrast, 'lachrymose' typically applies to someone who is moved to tears because of strong emotions or something that stimulates such feelings. (Marriam-Webster).

Tags: adjective, l, latin, wordsmith: sallymn

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