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more in sorrow than in anger

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Saddened rather than infuriated by someone's behavior. For example, When Dad learned that Jack had stolen a car, he looked at him more in sorrow than in anger. This expression first appeared in 1603 in Shakespeare's Hamlet (1:2), where Horatio describes to Hamlet the appearance of his father's ghost: “A countenance more in sorrow than in anger.”

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

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