Word of the Day : November 12, 2011


adjective LAK-ruh-mohss


1 : given to tears or weeping : tearful

2 : tending to cause tears : mournful

Did You Know?

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.


"'What a shame it is,' he said, wiping at his own eyes. Magee was a sucker for weeping women, and lachrymose when he had been drinking." -- From Michael Chabon’s short story "Smoke," as published in his 2005 collection A Model World and Other Stories

"The swish and slap of the windshield wipers kept good time with the banjos as [Merle] Haggard and his combo sang lachrymose patriotic songs in exaggerated stereo." -- From Jonathan Raban’s 2011 book Driving Home: An American Journey

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