- an excessively sentimental human-interest story.
- an alibi or excuse, especially one designed to arouse sympathy: Instead of a raise, the boss gave us another sob story about her expenses.
Origin of sob story
First recorded in 1915–20
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
- a tale of personal distress intended to arouse sympathy, esp one offered as an excuse or apology
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
A tale of personal hardship, true or invented, that is intended to arouse pity in the listener. For example, She always came up with some sob story to excuse her absences, but no one believed her. [Early 1900s]
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.