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A false, insincere, or hypocritical display of sadness or remorse. Derived from an ancient anecdote that a crocodile will weep to lure in its victims, or that it weeps as it eats them. The prime minister's crocodile tears belie the government's involvement with the massacre of its citizens. Jessica shed crocodile tears over the expulsion of her rival, Jacob.
after (a) while, crocodile
An playful way to say goodbye before a temporary parting, often preceded by "See you later, alligator." A: "See you later, alligator." B: "After a while, crocodile."
shed crocodile tears
To display false, insincere, or hypocritical sadness or remorse. Derived from an ancient notion that a crocodile will weep to lure in its victims, or that it weeps as it eats them. Jessica shed crocodile tears over the expulsion of her rival, Jacob.
shed crocodile tearsand cry crocodile tears
Fig. to shed false tears; to pretend that one is weeping. The child wasn't really hurt, but she shed crocodile tears anyway. He thought he could get his way if he cried crocodile tears.
An insincere display of grief, as in When the play's star broke her leg, her understudy wept crocodile tears. This term comes from the mistaken notion that crocodiles weep while eating their prey, one held in ancient Roman times. The actual term was picked up by Shakespeare and many other writers after him, and remains current. [Late 1500s]
shed crocodile tears
If someone sheds crocodile tears, they pretend to sympathize with or feel sadness about someone or something that they do not really care about. Our own government sheds crocodile tears over the loss of life whilst doing absolutely nothing to stop it. Note: Verbs such as weep and cry are sometimes used instead of shed. MPs who weep crocodile tears over the plight of those who earn £10,000 a year insist that they cannot manage on ten times that amount. While her family and friends weep, the politicians cry crocodile tears. Note: The phrase crocodile tears is used in other expressions with this meaning. She regards Washington's expressions of concern now as no more than crocodile tears. Note: There was an ancient belief that crocodiles sighed and groaned to attract their prey, and wept while they were eating it.
crocodile tearsa display of insincere grief.
This expression draws on the ancient belief that crocodiles wept while luring or devouring their prey.
ˈcrocodile tearsan insincere show of sadness: They never visited her when she was ill, but they came to her funeral and shed (= cried) a few crocodile tears.In the past, people believed that crocodiles trick people into approaching them by pretending to cry, and then eat them. Another belief was that crocodiles cry after eating somebody as if they are sorry.
After while(, crocodile)
phr. Good-bye till later.; See you later. (Crocodile is used only for the sake of the rhyme. This is the response to See you later, alligator.) MARY: See you later. BILL: After while, crocodile.
crocodile tears, crying/to cry
Pretended grief; hypocritical sorrow. The term comes from an ancient myth that a crocodile weeps while eating its prey. It was quoted by the English traveler Sir John Mandeville in 1400 but was already current far earlier, in Roman times. Indeed, the writer Spartianus, in his Lives of the Emperors (ca. a.d. 300), said that the Emperor Caracalla shed crocodile tears at the death of some of his enemies. The term was picked up by Shakespeare, Sir Francis Bacon, and numerous other writers, and was a cliché by the time Tennyson wrote, “Crocodiles wept tears for thee” (“A Dirge,” 1830).
False or hypocritical displays of emotions. A 14th-century adventurer named Sir John Mandeville reported that crocodiles attract their prey's sympathy by weeping and then continued to cry while consuming their victims. Shakespeare referred to such a belief in Othello: “O devil, devil! If that the earth could teem with woman's tears, / Each drop she falls would prove a crocodile.” An alternate explanation is that since those reptiles cannot cry, then crocodile tears are nonexistent shows of emotion. However, and for what's it's worth, zoologists tell us that crocodiles do in fact have functional tear ducts, although with no emotional connection.