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Is there any actual difference between weeping and crying?
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Hi,

Is there any actual difference between weeping and crying?

The term 'weeping' is more formal, more literary and more uncommon.

It also suggests to me more than 'crying' that there were a lot of tears, and that the person was more upset.

Clive
And, of course, 'sobbing' would be louder.
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I seem to remember reading or being taught that "weeping" means when tears are coming out of your eyes and "crying" means speaking in a loud voice ("Don't touch that!" he cried), and that saying crying when you mean weeping is wrong, wrong, wrong. It seems to me that many people use "weep" in a kind of self-conscious, hyper-correct kind of way, so maybe other people were taught this as well. But in this kind of exchange:

Where's Marcia?

Oh, she's off in the bathroom crying about Hector again. We should have just stayed home.

no one is going to think Marcia is in the bathroom speaking about Hector in a loud voice.
DelmobileI seem to remember reading or being taught that "weeping" means when tears are coming out of your eyes and "crying" means speaking in a loud voice ("Don't touch that!" he cried), and that saying crying when you mean weeping is wrong, wrong, wrong. It seems to me that many people use "weep" in a kind of self-conscious, hyper-correct kind of way, so maybe other people were taught this as well. But in this kind of exchange:

Where's Marcia?

Oh, she's off in the bathroom crying about Hector again. We should have just stayed home.

no one is going to think Marcia is in the bathroom speaking about Hector in a loud voice.

Crying = weeping [as well as shouting]. Two meanings for the same word.
If you want to make a distinction between the three, I would have thought it was a gradation in meaning:

weeping.... lots of tears but not much , if any, noise or movements. You can say someone was weeping silently but not normally noisily.

crying .... tears but also with crying noises, definitely never silent.

sobbing ..... both tears and definite intakes of breath and crying noises, possibly shoulders heaving.

Though it's also true that all three can be used equally to describe someone expressing grief
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Hi,

To me, 'weeping' involves a deeper and more adult expression of grief. 'Crying' can be purely 'mechanical'.

eg The baby in front of me on the plane cried for three hours non-stop,

but not The baby in front of me on the plane wept for three hours non-stop.

Clive
The question and answer somehow reminds me of one of the most famous scenes in Jane Eyre:

" I was prepared for the hot rain of tears; only I wanted them to be shed on my breast: now a senseless floor has received them,
or your drenched handkerchief. But I err: you have not wept at all! I see a white cheek and a faded eye, but no trace of tears. I suppose, then, your heart has been weeping blood?"

And later...

"I had been struggling with tears for some time: I had taken great pains to repress them, because I knew he would not like to see me weep. Now, however, I considered it well to let them flow as freely and as long as they liked. If the flood annoyed him, so much the better. So I gave way and cried heartily. "

And...

"I DO love you," I said, "more than ever: but I must not show or indulge the feeling: and this is the last time I must express it."

"The last time, Jane! What! do you think you can live with me, and see me daily, and yet, if you still love me, be always cold and
distant?"

"No, sir; that I am certain I could not; and therefore I see there is but one way: but you will be furious if I mention it."

"Oh, mention it! If I storm, you have the art of weeping."

"Mr. Rochester, I must leave you."
Hi,

Jesus wept.

(shortest verse in the Bible)

Clive
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