Definition of crocodile tears in US English:

crocodile tears

plural noun

  • Tears or expressions of sorrow that are insincere.

    • ‘Numerous politicians have routinely taken turns shedding crocodile tears, proclaiming that everyone's number one priority is getting the men out of prison.’
    • ‘And suddenly I remembered how my father could turn his back on me like that, how he would say, ‘Wipe those crocodile tears away!’’
    • ‘There were tears there but I thought they were crocodile tears.’
    • ‘There's no use crying crocodile tears tonight.’
    • ‘It had become common for many on the Left to cry crocodile tears for the dead and injured, to use those deaths and injuries as an ideological weapon against the merits and justifications for the war.’
    • ‘Some people thought his tears were crocodile tears.’
    • ‘Andrew didn't know what to do as he saw his wife… ex-wife crying tears he so desperately wanted to believe were crocodile tears.’
    • ‘As the coffin is carried inside for the tear-jerking ceremony, Hillman weeps crocodile tears and tells Emily: ‘I am so sorry about this terrible news’, then guides her into church.’
    • ‘Surely no politician would resort to crocodile tears.’
    • ‘Don't go out there with the crocodile tears saying that you're concerned about the security of this nation, when you had the opportunity, you had the opportunity alone, to determine it.’
    • ‘Maybe we should avail of all these crocodile tears to start another swimming pool!’
    • ‘He came over with his crocodile tears and made my family panic.’
    • ‘No amount of crocodile tears or political clap trap from politicians will be of any help whatsoever.’
    • ‘We regret the loss of a customer and, most especially, the bad PR, which is why I am releasing this statement full of euphemisms and crocodile tears.’
    • ‘‘It's just another case of crocodile tears with a Government in a mess and I see no reason why we should help them out of it,’ he said.’
    • ‘If there were awards for extreme melodrama with crocodile tears and overly dramatic pauses, then these individuals would win hands down.’
    • ‘It allows us to see through the false expressions of regret, the hand wringing and the crocodile tears, to understand how they really view the world.’
    • ‘The tears they were shedding were crocodile tears.’
    • ‘I lost 200 people I hired, and some people actually suggested that I cried crocodile tears.’


Mid 16th century: said to be so named from a belief that crocodiles wept while devouring or luring their prey.