sob story

See synonyms for sob story on
  1. an excessively sentimental human-interest story.

  2. 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

Words Nearby sob story Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use sob story in a sentence

  • What journalists call a 'sob story,' or is it meant to be humorous?

    Our Casualty And Other Stories | James Owen Hannay, AKA George A. Birmingham
  • It's about a feller vot takes anodder feller's place and gits his head cut off; and say, dere's a sob story in it vot's a vunder.

    They Call Me Carpenter | Upton Sinclair
  • As I said I didn't start out to tell a sob story, but in this business we see quite a few cases like that.

    The Tyranny of Weakness | Charles Neville Buck
  • Something about the case caught a tabloid's attention and it was played up as a human interest sob story.

    Success Story | Robert Turner

British Dictionary definitions for sob story

sob story

  1. 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

Other Idioms and Phrases with sob story

sob story

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.