lacrimae rerum

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Alternative forms[edit]


An allusion to Virgil’s Aeneid (29–19 BC), book I, line 462; Latin: lacrimae (“tears”, the nominative plural form of lacrima, “tear”) + rērum (“of things”, the genitive plural form of rēs, “thing”) = “tears of things”.



lacrimae rerum (plurale tantum)

  1. (rare) The “tears of things”; the inherent tragedy of existence.
    • 1993, Robert D. Hamner, Critical perspectives on Derek Walcott, →ISBN, page 101:
      Louis Macneice in a note on Eliot and the Adolescent remarks that “anyhow lacrimae rerum are not a monopoly of the mature adult.” Indeed the lacrimae rerum of the adolescent are likely to be far more bitter and consuming than those of the mature adult learning to care and not to care.
    • 2010, Elizabeth Vandiver, Stand in the Trench, Achilles, →ISBN, page 375:
      So too is Byles's depiction of Brooke feeling the weight of lacrimae rerum as he looks from the deck of his ship towards the unknown lands in which he will indeed lie buried, and realizes that his duty to his country requires the renunciation of his personal dreams for the future.


  • Publius Vergilius Maro, Aeneis (29–19 BC), book I, line 462
    Sunt lacrimae rerum et mentem mortalia tangunt.
    These are the tears of things, and our mortality cuts to the heart.
  • lacrimae rerum, lachrymae rerum” listed on page 240 of The Facts on File Dictionary of Foreign Words & Phrases [2nd ed., 2008], compil. Martin H. Manser