Crying Shame, a

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Meaning of Idiom 'A Crying Shame'

A crying shame is a very unfortunate situation; a more emphatic way of saying 'a real shame.' 1,2

Usage

"Did you hear about all the layoffs? What a crying shame."

"It's a crying shame Suan's father died just before her wedding."

Origin

Used since at least the first half of the 1800's, this idiom possibly derived from an earlier expression "cry shame upon" used from around 1600 to the mid-1800's.

Cry shame upon: express strong disapproval. 2

Sources
1. Spears, Richard A. McGraw-Hill's American Idioms Dictionary. Boston: McGraw Hill, 2008.
2. Ammer, Christine. American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.

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