crocodile tears

(used with a plural verb) a hypocritical show of sorrow; insincere tears.
(used with a singular verb) Pathology. spontaneous tearing initiated by tasting or chewing food, occurring as a result of facial paralysis.

1555–65; so called from the the ancient belief that crocodiles shed tears while eating their victims Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
crocodile tears
pl n
an insincere show of grief; false tears
[from the belief that crocodiles wept over their prey to lure further victims]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

crocodile tears definition

An insincere show of sympathy or sadness; crocodiles were once thought to “weep” large tears before they ate their victims: “Don't shed any crocodile tears for Fisher; I know you were responsible for his firing.”

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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