25 Sad Idioms: Sorrowful Expressions You Should Have

Language is a remarkable tool that allows us to express a breadth of emotions, and English is particularly rich with phrases that capture the nuances of sadness. These expressions, known as sad idioms, offer us a way to convey our feelings of sorrow, melancholy, or disappointment more vividly and with shared understanding. We often turn to these phrases when the directness of plain language falls short of encapsulating the depth of our emotions.

What are Sad Idioms?

In our language, we use idioms to express complex feelings in a nuanced and relatable way. Sad idioms are phrases that convey feelings of sadness or unhappiness through metaphorical or symbolic language. Unlike literal expressions, idioms allow us to share our emotions creatively and often in a culturally specific manner.

We often turn to sad idioms in conversation to describe our feelings or to empathize with others. Here is a list of some commonly used sad idioms and their meanings:

  • Feeling blue: Experiencing sadness or depression.
  • Down in the dumps: To be visibly sad or in a low mood.
  • Cry crocodile tears: To pretend to be sad when one is not.
  • Down in the mouth: To look unhappy, often used to describe someone else rather than oneself.

25 Sad Idioms: Sorrowful Expressions You Should Have Pin

List of Sad Idioms in English

Feeling blue Cry Over Spilled Milk
Down in the dumps A heavy heart
Cry crocodile tears At the end of one’s rope
Down in the mouth Carry the weight of the world on one’s shoulders
Drown one’s sorrows Face like a wet weekend
Heart sinks In the doldrums
Lose heart Not a dry eye in the house
One’s heart goes out to Out of sorts
Sing the blues Tear-jerker
Under the weather Wearing one’s heart on one’s sleeve

Sad Idioms with Meaning and Example

Idioms Meanings and Example Sentences
A heavy heart Feeling sadness or depression.

Example: “She left with a heavy heart knowing she might not return.”

At the end of one’s rope Having no more patience or strength left.

Example: “After dealing with the issue for hours, he was at the end of his rope.”

Carry the weight of the world on one’s shoulders To feel great pressure or stress from numerous burdens.

Example: “She feels like she has to carry the weight of the world on her shoulders.”

Drown one’s sorrows To drink alcohol to forget about problems.

Example: “He went to the bar to drown his sorrows after receiving bad news.”

Face like a wet weekend Looking miserable.

Example: “He had a face like a wet weekend when he heard about the cancellation of the trip.”

Heart sinks To feel disappointment or despair.

Example: “My heart sinks every time I think of the missed opportunity.”

In the doldrums Feeling depressed or having low energy.

Example: “She’s been in the doldrums ever since she lost her job.”

Lose heart To become discouraged.

Example: “Don’t lose heart—we still have a chance to win this game!”

Not a dry eye in the house Everyone present is so moved that they are crying.

Example: “After the emotional performance, there was not a dry eye in the house.”

One’s heart goes out to To feel sympathy or empathy towards someone.

Example: “My heart goes out to the family who lost their home in the fire.”

Out of sorts Feeling slightly unwell or in low spirits.

Example: “He’s been feeling out of sorts since he got the bad news.”

Sing the blues To lament one’s situation or express one’s sorrow.

Example: “After losing his job, he’s been singing the blues all week.”

Tear-jerker A story, movie, or situation that is so emotional that it makes you cry.

Example: “That movie was such a tear-jerker, everyone in the cinema was crying.”

Under the weather Feeling ill or sick.

Example: “I won’t be coming into work today; I’m feeling a bit under the weather.”

Wearing one’s heart on one’s sleeve To openly and freely express one’s emotions.

Example: “He’s always wearing his heart on his sleeve, so you know exactly how he feels.”

Sad Idioms in Different Contexts

Feeling blue

This idiom means feeling sad or depressed.

  • In Emotional States: When someone is experiencing a low mood.

Example: “After the game was canceled, the players were feeling blue.”

  • In Expressing Sympathy: When acknowledging someone else’s sadness.

Example: “She’s been feeling blue since her friend moved away.”

Down in the dumps

This phrase is used to describe someone who is in a state of unhappiness or depression.

  • In Describing Mood: When someone is feeling particularly low or unhappy.

Example: “He’s been down in the dumps ever since he lost his job.”

  • In Comforting Others: When trying to lift someone’s spirits who is feeling sad.

Example: “I noticed you’ve been down in the dumps lately, anything I can do to help?”

Cry crocodile tears

This idiom means to show insincere or fake sorrow.

  • In Deception: When someone pretends to be upset or affected by something.

Example: “She shed crocodile tears during the farewell, but we all knew she was glad to be moving on.”

  • In Skepticism: When doubting the sincerity of someone’s emotions.

Example: “He’s not upset about the mistake—he’s just crying crocodile tears to get sympathy.”

Down in the mouth

This phrase means feeling discouraged or unhappy.

  • In Describing Disappointment: When someone looks visibly upset or disheartened.

Example: “She’s been looking a bit down in the mouth since she heard the news.”

  • In Expressing Concern: When noticing someone seems sad or dejected.

Example: “What’s wrong? You seem a little down in the mouth today.”

Cry over spilled milk

This idiom means to be upset about things that have already happened and cannot be changed.

  • In Moving On When advising someone to let go of past mistakes or regrets.

Example: “Yes, you made a mistake, but there’s no use crying over spilled milk now.”

  • In Perspective: When encouraging someone to focus on the present or future instead of dwelling on the past.

Example: “We missed the opportunity, but we can’t keep crying over spilled milk; we need to find a new strategy.”

Using Sad Idioms in Communications


  • Cry over spilled milk: To be upset about something that has already happened and cannot be changed.

Example: Even though she regretted breaking up with her partner, she knew she couldn’t cry over spilled milk.

  • Heart in the right place: Someone’s intentions are good, but they may have caused sadness or trouble despite that.

Example: He forgot our anniversary, but his heart is in the right place. He’s planning a surprise trip to make up for it.

  • Tears of a clown: Someone who is sad on the inside but always appears happy on the outside.

Example: Despite his cheerful demeanor at the party, I could tell he was the tears of a clown, missing his ex deeply.

Work and Career

  • At the end of one’s rope: To be so overwhelmed that one feels unable to cope.

Example: After working 60-hour weeks for months, she was at the end of her rope and decided to look for a new job.

  • All dressed up and nowhere to go: Ready for an event or occasion that has been canceled or is no longer relevant.

Example: The team was all dressed up and nowhere to go after the product launch was abruptly called off.

  • Lose steam: To start something with a lot of energy or enthusiasm but then begin to reduce effort or lose interest.

Example: The project started well, but the team lost steam when they realized the goals were unrealistic.

Personal Well-being

  • Carry the weight of the world on one’s shoulders: To feel very worried or burdened by the problems of the world.

Example: Ever since her health scare, she feels like she’s carrying the weight of the world on her shoulders.

  • Down in the dumps: Feeling unhappy or without hope.

Example: He’s been down in the dumps ever since he failed his driving test for the third time.

  • Hit rock bottom: To be at the lowest possible level or in the worst situation.

Example: After losing his job and his home, he felt like he had hit rock bottom.

Financial Situations

  • Broke the bank: To cost a lot of money, often more than one can afford.

Example: His wedding was so extravagant, it nearly broke the bank.

  • In the red: To be losing money or to owe more money than you are earning.

Example: The company has been in the red for the last two quarters and may have to start laying off employees.

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