vale of tears

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Loan translation of Latin lacrimarum vallis, from the Salve Regina, where it refers to the world as a whole. The expression is based on Hebrew עמק הבכא (ʿēmeq habbāḵāʾ), mentioned in Psalm 84:7, originally probably “sear valley”, but interpreted as “valley of weeping”. Vale is a Middle English word meaning a valley or dale.


vale of tears (plural vales of tears)

  1. (idiomatic) A symbolic "valley of tears"; meaning the world and the sorrows felt through life. The phrase implies that sadness is an innate part of human experience.


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