Metaphors for crying and tears tend to compare tears to natural water features, such as rivers, raindrops, storms, or waterfalls.
Good metaphors aim to paint a picture for the reader that is both relatable and instructive. It helps your readers to become more engaged in the story.
Some possible metaphors for tears that you can use include:
- Tears are a river
- Tears are raindrops falling from her eyes
- The crying is an out of tune orchestra.
Search the below list of other possible metaphors for some additional inspiration.
Metaphors for Crying
1. Crying a River
The phrase “cry me a river” is often used to describe someone who is feeling sorry for themselves. The phrase can also be used to describe someone who is overreacting to a situation. It is usually a condescending phrase.
It’s a metaphor because no one will actually cry a whole river out of their eyes! But, we use this phrase in order to imply that someone probably shouldn’t be crying so much or so hard.
2. Her Crying is Nails on a Chalkboard
The idiom ‘nails on a chalkboard’ means a sound that is grating and unpleasant. This is a pretty straightforward metaphor, in that crying can sometimes make an unpleasant sound. So, we’re simply saying that this person’s crying is unpleasant to listen to.
3. He was Bawling his Eyes Out
The phrase “bawl your eyes out” means to cry very hard. This is another example of a metaphor, as no one’s eyes will actually fall out from crying. This phrase is usually used to describe someone who is crying uncontrollably.
We can also consider this
4. The Baby’s Tears are an Endless Spring
This is a metaphor to describe the never-ending tears of a baby. It’s saying that the baby’s tears are like a spring, in that they just keep flowing and flowing.
It’s obviously a metaphor because babies don’t have an actual spring of tears! But, it’s a cute way to describe the never-ending tears of a baby.
5. The Crying is a Kettle Boiling Over
The phrase “a kettle boiling over” is used to describe a situation that is out of control. This metaphor is saying that the crying is out of control, just like a boiling kettle.
It also implies that the crying is loud and annoying. We can imagine in our ears a kettle squealing when it’s about to boil over. Similarly, a crying baby can be loud and annoying.
6. Tears are Diamonds Falling from Her Eyes
This metaphor is describing tears as diamonds. It’s saying that the tears are precious and valuable, just like diamonds.
It’s a beautiful way to describe tears, and it emphasizes the value of emotions. Just as diamonds are valuable, so too are our emotions.
We might use this metaphor when talking about an innocent person crying because they have been unjustly harmed.
7. The Tears have a Silver Lining
This metaphor is what we call a mixed metaphor because it’s a play on the metaphorical idiom ‘every cloud has a silver lining’. The term means that there is always a positive aspect to every negative situation.
So, the metaphor is saying that even though the tears are sad, there is also a positive in the person’s situation if we look for it.
The metaphor emphasizes that there is always hope, even in the darkest of times. The silver lining represents hope and positivity.
8. Tears are Raindrops Falling from Her Eyes
This metaphor is describing tears as raindrops. It’s saying that the tears are falling from her eyes, just like raindrops fall from the sky.
You could imagine that these are tears that are welling up and thick.
This is a metaphor you might use in a short story or a poem to paint a picture in someone’s mind of a big bulky drop that’s dripping from the corner of someone’s eye.
9. The Tears are an Ocean of Pain
This metaphor is describing tears as an ocean. It’s saying that the tears are deep and vast, just like an ocean.
It emphasizes the depth of the person’s pain, and how it seems to be never-ending. Just as the ocean goes on forever, so too does the person’s pain.
This might be a good metaphor to use when describing a person who has just lost a loved one.
10. Tears are a Storm
This metaphor is describing tears as a storm. It’s saying that the tears are wild and uncontrollable, just like a storm.
It emphasizes the power of emotions, and how they can sometimes take over our lives. Just as a storm can cause destruction, so too can our emotions.
You might also refer to a child’s crying as a storm because it causes havoc. A crying child disrupts everyone and, if it becomes a tantrum, can cause a big mess just like a storm ripping through a room!
11. The Crying is a Siren (Altering you of a Problem)
This metaphor is saying that the crying is a warning sign, just like a siren.
It’s emphasizing how the crying is telling us that there is a problem. Just as a siren goes off when there is a fire or an accident, so too does the crying tell us that something is wrong.
We might use this metaphor when talking about a baby who is crying because they are hungry or hurt. The crying is a way of them communicating their needs to us.
12. His Crying is an Out-of-Tune Orchestra
This metaphor is saying that the crying is loud and chaotic, just like an out-of-tune orchestra.
It’s emphasizing how the crying can be loud and disruptive. Just as an out-of-tune orchestra can be jarring to our ears, so too can a crying baby be jarring to our nerves!
We might use this metaphor when we can’t stand the sound of the crying anymore, and it’s driving us crazy.
13. His Crying is Music to my Ears
This metaphor is the opposite of the previous one. It’s saying that the crying is beautiful and melodic, just like music.
It’s not common that you would think of crying as a positive thing. But it might be used when referring to a parent who lost their child. When they heard their child cry in the distance, they feel relief that the child has been found. It flips our typical idea of crying on its head and shows how much we love the child, despite their tears.
14. Her Crying is my Prison (I cannot Escape it!)
This metaphor is saying that the crying is constricting and suffocating, just like a prison.
It’s emphasizing how the crying can make us feel trapped. Just as we would feel trapped if we were in a small space with no way out, so too can we feel trapped when we are surrounded by the sound of someone crying that we cannot escape.
This metaphor may resonate with many parents who feel like the tears of their todlers are endless!
15. The Crying is an Erupting Volcano
This metaphor is saying that the crying is explosive and destructive, just like a volcano.
It’s emphasizing how the crying can be overwhelming and seem to come out of nowhere. Just as a volcano can suddenly erupt and cause devastation, so too can the tears of a person suddenly explode and cause emotional damage.
It can also refer to the fact that a person’s emotions build up and errupt in tears, just like a volcano whose pressure builds up until it finally overflows with lava.
These are just a few examples of metaphors that can be used to describe crying. There are many more out there! The important thing is to find one that resonates with you and helps you to describe the situation perfectly.
For writers trying to add some excitement to their writing, metaphors are a great way to do that! They can add interest and flair to otherwise mundane descriptions.
Dr. Chris Drew is the founder of the Helpful Professor. He holds a PhD in education and has published over 20 articles in scholarly journals. He is the former editor of the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education. [Image Descriptor: Photo of Chris]