crying shame, a

An unfortunate situation, as in It's a crying shame that Bob can't find a job. This term may well come from the now obsolete to cry shame upon, meaning “express vigorous disapproval or censure,” current from about 1600 to the mid-1800s.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.