A Single Tear YKTTW Discussion

A Single Tear
(permanent link) added: 2010-02-11 19:14:00 sponsor: Ronka87 (last reply: 2010-02-11 21:27:44)

Add Tag:
So sad, it made an eagle cry. But only once.

launching tomorrow: Last call for examples and suggestions

Sand In My Eyes mentions this, as do most Tear Tropes, but we don't seem to have this trope outright.

For whatever reason, a character is moved. However, this character is made of strong stuff: They are beyond blubbering and won't turn on the Water Works. The Sparkling Stream of Tears was dammed up and those Ocular Gushers were surgically removed. Plus they promised themselves!. He or she is not going to cry.

Well, maybe just one drop.

A Single Tear describes any time someone cries only one teardrop. This is perceived to be extremely manly and dramatic and is one of the few ways a man can openly cry in public, though obviously its not exclusive to men.

Tears can be shed for anything, from patriotism to pollution. On a more serious note, if someone is only crying one tear, they may be too traumatized to shed more. If a being is generally incapable of crying, this is a sign that are genuinely upset.

A reason this became a trope in the first place is that it's quite difficult for most people to cry on command, so filmmakers would use an eyedropper to put liquid in the actor's eyes just before a crying scene. Of course, you can only squeeze so much water out before the next take, leading to this.

Mainly a Discredited Trope; most of the time you see it, it's a parody, although occasional dramatic uses spring up from time to time.


  • The best-known example is probably the Crying Indian; he even has his own trope!
  • This image, popular on the Something Awful forums.
  • In King's Quest VI: Heir Today, Gone Tomorrow, Alexander gains freedom from the Land of the Dead by making the Lord of the Dead cry one single tear.
  • Most season one episodes of Moral Orel have Orel crying a single drop at the Rev. Putty's latest sermon.
  • The animated short Kiwi! has one.
  • The picture from Gargoyles currently on Tears from a Stone.
  • Oren Ishii cries a single tear at her mother's murder in The Origin of Oren Ishii. She probably would have cried more, but then the bed started weeping blood...
  • This trope is actually Older Than Dirt; it pops in Dante's Divine Comedy, specifically in the first few cantos of Purgatorio. There is a soldier mentioned who is a brutal, bloody bastard his whole life, but when he is struck down in battle he cries a single tear of repentance, which is enough to send him to Purgatory instead of Hell.
  • Those Harlequin clowns with the single tear drop drawn onto their face.
Replies: 19