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gulp back (one's) sobs

To try to stop oneself from crying. I didn't want to have to tell my parents what was going on, so I tried to gulp back my sobs.
See also: back, gulp, sob


1. rude slang An abbreviation of "son of a bitch," referring to a mean, unpleasant, or despicable person. Usually, but not exclusively, said of a man. Julie's ex-husband was such a mean SOB, it's no wonder she divorced him. He can be a real SOB sometimes, but he gets the job done.
2. rude slang An abbreviation of "son of a bitch," referring to a person one considers daring, mischievous, or tough. Often used as an emphatic expression of affection. Usually, but not exclusively, said of a man. That SOB really pulled through for us when we needed him! I can't believe that lucky SOB won the case! Dude, Karen is a tough SOB. She just sewed her own stitches!
3. rude slang An abbreviation of "son of a bitch," referring to an object or task that is especially problematic. My car broke down, and I can't figure out how to fix the SOB.

sob (one's) heart out

To cry for an extended period of time. Poor Jane really sobbed her heart out during the funeral service. I can't watch those sappy movies because I just sob my heart out every time.
See also: heart, out, sob

sob (oneself) to sleep

1. Literally, to weep uncontrollably until one falls asleep. I was so upset after the funeral that I sobbed myself to sleep that night.
2. By extension, to be upset by or distraught about something. Typically used sarcastically to mean the opposite. I'm not thrilled with that grade, but it's not like I'm going to sob myself to sleep over it. Yeah, I'm sure that actor is really sobbing himself to sleep over a single bad review!
See also: sleep, sob, to

sob out

To attempt to say something while in the middle of sobbing. A noun or pronoun can be used between "sob" and "out." After getting caught stealing, the poor child sobbed out a pitiful story about how he couldn't afford to pay for the food. He sobbed an apology out, promising to never do it again.
See also: out, sob

sob sister

1. A writer or journalist who keeps an advice column in a newspaper to answer readers' problems or quandaries. Collins worked as a sob sister for her local newspaper for several years before moving on to a permanent position with the New York Times.
2. A writer or journalist who focuses on or specializes in overly emotional, dramatic, or sentimental articles. They hired me as a sob sister to write about the plights of those in need of charity around the city.
3. A girl or woman who is prone to overly emotional pleas, complaints, or outbursts. It's a very difficult and narrow path to tread as a woman in the business world. If you show any emotional vulnerability, you are considered a sob sister, but if you allow nothing to show through, you're seen as some stuck-up ice queen—there's just very little in the way of a middle ground. There's this sob sister in my group who just drains all my energy with her constant complaining and whining.
See also: sister, sob

sob story

A sad story told in an attempt to generate sympathy for the storyteller. Don't come in tomorrow without your final project. I don't want to hear any sob stories about how you forgot it at home.
See also: sob, story

sob to (one)

To weep uncontrollably to one (about something). A noun or pronoun can be used between "sob" and "to" to specify what's being told to the other person. The poor girl went sobbing to her parents after getting picked on at school. He sobbed an apology to his wife, promising to never do it again.
See also: sob, to
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

cry one's heart out

 and sing one's heart out; play one's heart out; sob one's heart out
Fig. to do something with vigor or intensity. She suffered such grief—alone and sobbing her heart out. The bird sang its little heart out each morning.
See also: cry, heart, out

sob oneself to sleep

to cry until one falls asleep. He sobbed himself to sleep for days after his grandpa died. The child sobbed himself to sleep night after night.
See also: sleep, sob, to

sob something out

to speak something out while sobbing. Wally sobbed his story out while the police made notes. He sobbed out his sad tale.
See also: out, sob

sob something to someone

to cry and tell one's troubles to someone. He is always sobbing his sad tale to anyone who will listen. Timmy sobbed his story to the teacher.
See also: sob, to

sob story

Fig. a sad story that is likely to draw tears. I've heard nothing but sob stories today. Isn't anybody happy? She had quite a sob story, and I listened to the whole thing.
See also: sob, story
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

sob story

A tale of personal hardship, true or invented, that is intended to arouse pity in the listener. For example, She always came up with some sob story to excuse her absences, but no one believed her . [Early 1900s]
See also: sob, story
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

cry your heart out


sob your heart out

COMMON If you cry your heart out or sob your heart out, you cry a lot. Note: The heart is traditionally regarded as the centre of the emotions. I threw myself on to the bed and cried my heart out. I had never known her cry, and here she was sobbing her heart out. Compare with your heart out.
See also: cry, heart, out
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

sob your ˈheart out

cry noisily for a long time because you are very sad: After the argument she spent an hour sobbing her heart out in the bedroom. OPPOSITE: laugh your head off
See also: heart, out, sob

a ˈsob story

(informal, disapproving) a story that somebody tells you so that you will feel sorry for them, especially one that does not have that effect or is not true: Then she gave me another of her sob stories, this time about an argument with her boyfriend.
See also: sob, story
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017


n. a son of a bitch; a despised person, usually a male. (Initialism only. Crude. Also a rude and provocative term of address.) Tell that SOB to mind his own business.

sob sister

n. a weak woman who is prone to crying. I had another sob sister in the office today. Went through half a box of tissues.
See also: sister, sob

sob story

n. a sad story that is likely to draw tears. I’ve heard nothing but sob stories today. Isn’t anybody happy?
See also: sob, story
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

sob story

An oversentimental tale; a tearjerker. This expression from the early twentieth century presumably represents a reaction to Victorian sentimentality. C. E. Montague used it in Fiery Particles (1923): “Thomas Curtayne, the greatest of Irishmen, was to be buried in homely state. . . . Here was a sob story.” A roughly contemporary term is sob sister, a woman reporter who writes stories full of sentimental pathos. This expression, however, is obsolescent.
See also: sob, story
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer

sob sister

Someone devoted to charities, or (less charitably) a do-gooder. Originally a newspaper reporter or editor, invariably a woman, whose assignment was to produce sentimental stories and interviews that would appeal to female readers. By extension, the phrase came to mean any overly emotional person, whether male or female, especially one involved in charitable and public service efforts where sad tales of the recipients would tug on their heartstrings.
See also: sister, sob
Endangered Phrases by Steven D. Price Copyright © 2011 by Steven D. Price
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References in periodicals archive ?
The SOBS helpline is open from 9am to 9pm everyday on 0870 2413337.
The cost of keeping in contact with the 1,000 people on the Sobs mailing list and sending out regular press releases is expensive, and many supporters are elderly people living on small pension or fixed incomes, St Albans-based Mr Goodall said.
Adam's parents Andy, 51, and Mandy, 50, have been attending SOBS meetings in Johnstone since their son's death.
A B&B spokesman said: "We informed SOBS that it had not gathered the necessary 500 signatures to put any resolutions to the society's AGM.
Rosemary Mullan, Choose Life Coordinator, said: "Our Renfrewshire SOBS group is there to prevent those bereaved by suicide from feeling isolated and alone with their grief.
Sobs launched its action against the society after the Midshires refused to hold a second meeting of members to discuss "demutualisation" - a takeover by the Halifax.
SOBS meets on the last Wednesday of every month at Johnstone Day Care Centre in Walkinshaw Street, Johnstone, from 7pm to 8.30pm, and new members are always welcome.
Writing to Mr Bob Goodall, co-ordinator of the Sobs campaign, the Midshires said that its board had considered the request for a second SGM and concluded that "it has no duty under its rules to hold a further meeting of members on resolutions which are p roposed for frivolous or vexatious purposes."
Although the SOBS campaign against the society giving up mutuality has enough support to hold a second special general meeting, organisers claim that "members democracy is being stymied by the need to present a deposit of at least pounds 5,000 to Midshir es to hold the meeting."
It says SOBS has so far failed to win sufficient support, in terms of members and financial backing, to have the resolutions included.
Any member who wishes to endorse the SOBS' resolutions is asked to contact him on 01727-847-370.
POIGNANT: Lana Turner in Madame X (top) and Imitation Of Life; SOB, SOB: Fried Green Tomatoes (left) and the 1945 classic Brief Encounter
The Save our Building Societies Campaign (Sobs), which is backed by Mr Vincent Cable, Lib Dem MP for Twickenham, is now turning its attention to Birmingham Midshires, after successfully campaigning to keep the Nationwide a mutual building society.
The sobs stopped and as the Becks handed her his shirt, a bashful smile lit up her face.
But when the flight landed at Heathrow at 5.20am Paula's sobs broke through again.