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When to use cry and when to use weep? Which one goes more formal? Which one should have preference in general use?

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3 Answers 3

up vote 4 down vote accepted

In short, weep is more about tears, while cry is more about the sound.


Merriam-Webster entries:

Weep: [vi 1] to express passion (as grief) by shedding tears

Cry: [vi 2] to shed tears often noisily

Sob: [vi 1b] to cry or weep with convulsive catching of the breath

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Some times we use "He's crying." and sometimes "He's weeping."(in the same context also). Why ? –  Akshay Thakur Feb 28 '11 at 18:14
    
@Akshay Thakur What do you mean by the same context. Just the same situation or the same page? Despite that, I guess we just use different words for a similar meaning to make articles look good. –  user3812 Feb 28 '11 at 18:36
    
I meant that Meaning of both sentences are same , then when to use "cry" and when "weep" ? –  Akshay Thakur Feb 28 '11 at 18:39
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@Akshay Thakur, It depends. weep is more literary and more dramatic. –  user3812 Feb 28 '11 at 18:45
    
Jiang - Thanks :-) –  Akshay Thakur Mar 1 '11 at 12:00

Weep is a little more archaic or poetic, so there's a mild preference for using cry instead. The only time you must use weep rather than cry is if you think the wrong meaning of cry will be understood by mistake.

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Thanks :-) –  Akshay Thakur Mar 1 '11 at 12:00
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I think Weep is a lot more archaic / poetic, and rarely occurs in everyday speech. –  FumbleFingers Mar 23 '11 at 0:13
    
@FumbleFingers: weep is rare, true, but cry is pretty uncommon in everyday speech too, so I don't think the distinction is as dramatic as you're making out. –  user1579 Mar 23 '11 at 14:04
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I don't think cry is uncommon at all. Babies cry all the time, but they don't often weep. In my experience, weeping is something only running sores and people in mental distress do. Crying is much more generic, covering lacrimation due to physical pain, talking loudly, animal noises, etc. –  FumbleFingers Mar 23 '11 at 16:14

It is a matter of perception. Mountains weep but valleys cry. Weeping come from up to down while cry goes from down to up. Thank you.

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This answer makes no sense. Neither weeping nor crying has a direction, and I've never heard of mountains or valleys weeping or crying. Do you have any kind of reference to back any of this up (or just make sense of it)? –  Janus Bahs Jacquet Nov 29 '13 at 14:13

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