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  1. (used with a plural verb) the hard, nearly spherical bracts that surround the female flowers of an Asian grass, Coix lacryma-jobi, and which when ripe are used as beads.
  2. (used with a singular verb) the grass itself.

Origin of Job's-tears

First recorded in 1590–1600
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
British Dictionary definitions for job's-tears


  1. (functioning as singular) a tropical Asian grass, Coix lacryma-jobi, cultivated for its white beadlike modified leaves, which contain edible seeds
  2. (functioning as plural) the beadlike structures of this plant, used as rosary or ornamental beads
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012