turn on the waterworks

Idioms & Phrases

turn on the waterworks

Start to weep, as in Whenever Dad refuses a request of hers she turns on the waterworks. This term implies that one begins to weep deliberately, as though switching on a system of pipes connected to reservoirs.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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