Meaning of lachrymatory in English:


Pronunciation /ˈlakrɪməˌt(ə)ri/


(also lacrimatory)
technical, literary
  • Relating to, causing, or containing tears.

    ‘a lachrymatory secretion’
    • ‘Preferably, the explosive slug is placed between the compartment containing the lacrimatory substance and the compartment containing the pyrogenic substance.’
    • ‘The lachrymatory factor from an onion activates the nerve endings of pain fibres in the top layer of the cornea, leading to increased production and release of tears.’
    • ‘The effect of the lacrimatory factor can be sharply diminished by freezing the onion or submerging the onion in water (diluting the chemical, which is soluble in water) before cutting.’
    • ‘Acrolein is used as a warning agent in methyl chloride refrigerant and (as Papite) was used as a lacrimatory agent in World War I.’
    • ‘The compounds most commonly employed as lacrimatory agents or ‘tear gases’ are chloroacetophenone and ortho-chlorobenzalmalononitrile.’

nounplural noun lachrymatories

(also lacrimatory)
  • A phial of a kind found in ancient Roman tombs and thought to be a lachrymal vase.

    ‘Glass, including lachrymatories, is mentioned as occurring sometimes, but apparently only in small quantities.’
    • ‘Ancient Greeks buried their dead with lacrimatories, vials full of mourners' tears.’
    • ‘Ancient Greeks, Romans and Hebrews would cry into small vials, or lachrymatories, that would then be sealed and buried with the dead.’
    • ‘It is said that Nero used a lachrymatory or small glass vessel to keep his tears in.’
    • ‘The captivating tear bottle tradition dates back nearly 3,000 years, when mourners were known to collect their tears in a lachrymatory and bury them with loved ones to express honor and devotion.’


Mid 17th century (as a noun): from Latin lacrima.