any of various small vases found in ancient Roman sepulchers, formerly supposed to have been used to catch the tears of mourners
Origin of lachrymatoryMedieval Latin lacrimatorium, neuter of lacrimatorius, of tears ; from Classical Latin lacrima, tear
of, causing, or producing tears
(comparative more lachrymatory, superlative most lachrymatory)
- Pertaining to or causing tears.
- 1919: It is sheer affectation to lacerate a man with the poisonous fragment of a bursting shell and to boggle at making his eyes water by means of lachrymatory gas. — Winston Churchill, "1919 War Office Memorandum"
- A vase intended to hold tears, formerly used by archaeologists to designate certain urns found in Roman burials.
- 1658: For beside these Lachrymatories, notable Lamps with Vessels of Oyles and Aromaticall Liquors attended noble Ossuaries. — Sir Thomas Browne, Urne-Burial (Penguin 2005, p. 21)
From Latin type *lacrimatorius, from lacrimare.