Word of The Day for Tuesday, September 28, 2010


lach•ry•mose   / LAK-ruh-mohs /   adj


1. Generating or shedding tears; given to shedding tears; suffused with tears; tearful.

2. Causing or tending to cause tears.

lachrymosely adverb lachrymosity noun


Synonyms: dolorous, tearful, weeping
Related Words:
lachrymal, a. pertaining to tears and weeping;
lachrymal, n.pl. organs secreting tears; crying fits.
lachrymary, a. containing, or intended to contain, tears; lachrymal
lachrymation, n. the act or process of shedding tears
lachrymator, n. substance or gas causing tears.
lachrymatory, n. narrow-necked vase; tear-bottle.
lachrymiform, a. tear-shaped.
lachrymist, n. weeper.
lachrymogenic, a. causing tears.


At the farewell party on the boat, Joyce was surrounded by a lachrymose  family.
-- Edna O'Brien, "She Was the Other Ireland", New York Times , June 19, 1988

I promise to do my best, and if at any time my resolution lapses, pen me a few fierce vitriolic words and you shall receive by the next post a lachrymose  & abject apology in my most emotional hand writing.
-- Rupert Brooke, "letter to James Strachey", , July 7, 1905

The game is perpetuated by the sons in a sometimes vicious sibling rivalry that inevitably subsides into lachrymose  reconciliation.
-- Arthur Gelb and Barbara Gelb, O'Neill: Life With Monte Cristo

Meanwhile, a lachrymose  new waltz, "After The Ball Is Over," was sweeping the nation.
-- Benjamin Welles, Sumner Welles: FDR's Global Strategist


1660s, "tear-like," from L. lacrimosus "tearful, sorrowful," from lacrima "tear," a dialect-altered borrowing of Gk. dakryma "tear," from dakryein "to shed tears," from dakry "tear," from PIE *dakru-/*draku- (see tear (n.)). Meaning "given to tears, tearful" is first attested 1727; meaning "of a mournful character" is from 1822.

Sources: Online Etymology, Dictionary.com, Dictionary of Difficult Words,

Why This Word:

So many variants, so seldom used. I started out after the word lachrymal and despaired of another fine word that has become primarily a medical term. Fortunately, lacrima has deposited itself in English in several forms, bespeaking a useful word, albeit from an age evidently more comfortable with signs of grief and sorrow.

Word-E: A Word-A-Day

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