[teer-fuh l]


full of tears; weeping.
causing tears: the tearful story of his poverty.

Origin of tearful

First recorded in 1580–90; tear1 + -ful
Related formstear·ful·ly, adverbtear·ful·ness, nounhalf-tear·ful, adjectivehalf-tear·ful·ly, adverbhalf-tear·ful·ness, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for tearful

Contemporary Examples of tearful

Historical Examples of tearful

  • Fell on the anguish and hope in the tearful eyes of the mourners.


    William D. Howells

  • I looked at him with dim, tearful eyes, and assured him that soon he shall be free.

    The Book of Khalid

    Ameen Rihani

  • The girl raised her chin and the old defiance was in her tearful gaze.

  • Again, a young wife with a tearful voice: "A charm to make me bear children!"

    The Scapegoat

    Hall Caine

  • Lady O'Moy, white and tearful, was discovered on the threshold.

    The Snare

    Rafael Sabatini

British Dictionary definitions for tearful



about to cry
accompanying or indicative of weepinga tearful expression
tending to produce tears; sad
Derived Formstearfully, adverbtearfulness, noun
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