30 Idioms for Sad

Idioms are a colorful and creative way to express emotions and convey meaning in language. 

They can often convey meaning more effectively than literal language, and can add depth and nuance to our communication. 

In this blog post, we will explore a range of idioms for sad, including their meanings and origins. 

Whether you are feeling blue, down in the dumps, or heartbroken, there is an idiom to express your sadness. 

Read on to find the perfect idiom to convey your emotions and add some depth to your writing.

Idioms for Sad

  1. “Down in the dumps”: This phrase refers to feeling depressed or unhappy. The term “dumps” has been used since the 1500s to mean a state of melancholy, though its exact origin is unclear.
  2. “Feeling blue”: This idiom means feeling sad or depressed. It’s believed to have originated from the custom among many old deepwater sailing ships. If the ship lost the captain or any of the officers during its voyage, she would fly blue flags and have a blue band painted along her entire hull when returning to home port.
  3. “Cry one’s eyes out”: This expression indicates extreme sadness to the point of crying excessively. It’s a hyperbolic phrase, meaning it’s an exaggeration, and the origins are unclear, but it’s been used in the English language since at least the 18th century.
  4. “Carrying the weight of the world on one’s shoulders”: This idiom refers to the feeling of carrying heavy responsibilities and worries, often leading to sadness. The phrase comes from the Greek myth of Atlas, who was condemned by Zeus to carry the heavens on his shoulders.
  5. “Down in the mouth”: This phrase means to look or feel despondent or dejected. It dates back to the late 17th century and is thought to originate from the literal drooping of one’s mouth when they’re feeling unhappy.
  6. “A lump in one’s throat”: This idiom describes the tight, choking feeling one might get when trying not to cry. It’s based on the physical sensation that can occur when a person is trying to suppress strong emotion.
  7. “In the pits”: This idiom indicates extreme sadness or despair. It may have originated from the idea of being at the very bottom (the pits) of life, a point of ultimate despair.
  8. “Wearing a long face”: This means to look visibly sad or disheartened. It’s thought to come from the association of a long or drawn face with sadness, as faces often elongate when frowning or expressing unhappiness.
  9. “Heart sinks”: This phrase is used to describe a sudden feeling of despair or discouragement. It’s based on the physical sensation of heaviness or dropping in the chest when one receives bad news or experiences disappointment.
  10. “Waterworks have started”: This means to start crying, often excessively. The phrase originated from the metaphor of tears flowing like water from a faucet or, in British usage, from a public water supply system (known as “the waterworks”).
  11. “In a blue funk”: This phrase is used to describe a state of deep sadness or depression. The word “blue” has been associated with sadness since the 1300s, and “funk” originally referred to a state of paralyzing fear or panic in the 18th century, which later broadened to include gloom or depression.
  12. “Singing the blues”: This idiom means to lament one’s sadness, often through song. It comes from the genre of Blues music, which originated in the African-American communities in the U.S and is characterized by its lyrical focus on expressing hardship and sorrow.
  13. “Tear one’s hair out”: This expression indicates extreme frustration or worry, which could lead to sadness. The phrase comes from ancient customs of mourning, where people would literally tear out their hair in grief.
  14. “At the end of one’s rope”: This idiom means to be in a desperate situation without any options left, often leading to feelings of despair or sadness. It possibly originates from the idea of a tethered animal that can no longer move when it reaches the end of its rope.
  15. “A face like a wet weekend”: This is a British idiom that describes someone who looks very miserable or disappointed. The phrase comes from the idea of a rainy weekend ruining outdoor plans, thus leading to disappointment and sadness.
  16. “Feeling down in the mouth”: This phrase means to feel despondent or unhappy, and it likely originates from the downturned expression a person’s mouth takes when they are unhappy or disappointed.
  17. “Like a dog with two tails”: This phrase means to be very unhappy. The idiom is based on the image of a dog’s tail drooping when it is unhappy, so the idea of having two tails amplifies the sentiment of sadness.
  18. “Drown one’s sorrows”: This idiom means to try to forget one’s troubles by drinking alcohol. The phrase originates from the idea that drinking can temporarily allow one to escape from problems or feelings of sadness.
  19. “Have a heavy heart”: This phrase means to feel sad and burdened. It comes from the physical sensation of a ‘weight’ in one’s chest when feeling intense emotional stress or sadness.
  20. “Cast down”: This idiom means to be in low spirits or depressed. The phrase comes from the imagery of being thrown or cast down into a lower, unhappy state.
  21. “Under the weather”: This phrase typically refers to feeling ill, but it can also signify feeling low or depressed. The term originates from maritime sources, referring to a sailor feeling unwell and going below deck to recover, thus being away from the weather.
  22. “A sinking feeling”: This means to have a feeling of despair or sadness, often due to an impending sense of doom or failure. It’s based on the metaphorical sensation of sinking or feeling weighed down.
  23. “Downcast”: This term is used to describe someone feeling despondent or depressed. It comes from the literal physical position of having one’s eyes or face downturned due to sadness.
  24. “Broken-hearted”: This phrase is used when someone is deeply saddened or distressed, usually due to a profound personal loss, such as the end of a relationship or the death of a loved one. The origin lies in the metaphorical use of the heart to symbolize love and emotion.
  25. “Feeling low”: This idiom means feeling sad or depressed. It’s likely derived from the physical position one adopts when sad (e.g., lowered head, slumped shoulders), which has come to symbolize a low mood.
  26. “Tears are flowing”: This phrase signifies that someone is crying due to sadness. The origin is quite literal, with tears flowing down one’s face being a universal sign of sadness or grief.
  27. “Lost one’s spark”: This phrase means to have lost enthusiasm, typically due to sadness or depression. The “spark” here refers to one’s inner vitality or zest for life.
  28. “Washed out”: This phrase typically refers to feeling exhausted, but it can also signify feeling emotionally drained due to sadness. It originates from the term’s use to describe faded materials or colors, metaphorically extended to a person’s vitality or spirit.
  29. “Between the devil and the deep blue sea”: This phrase indicates being in a difficult situation where there’s no easy solution, often leading to feelings of despair. The phrase dates back to the 1600s, with the “devil” referring to an insurmountable problem and the “deep blue sea” symbolizing unknown dangers.
  30. “In a black mood”: This phrase means to be in a state of extreme sadness or anger. The color black is often associated with negativity, hence its usage in this idiom.

More Phrases about Sadness

Sadness Metaphors: A metaphor is a figure of speech that directly compares one thing to another for rhetorical effect, essentially saying something “is” something else. An example of a metaphor for sadness would be: “His heart was a lonely hunter that hunted on a lonely hill.”

Sadness Similes: A simile is a figure of speech that makes a comparison between two different things using “like” or “as.” An example of a simile for sadness would be: “She felt as sad as a solitary leaf on a barren tree.”


In conclusion, idioms for sad are a rich and expressive way to convey emotions and convey meaning. 

From feeling blue to having a heavy heart, there are countless idioms that can help us communicate our sadness and emotional state. 

Whether you are a writer looking to add depth and creativity to your work, or simply seeking the perfect way to express your feelings, these idioms are a valuable tool. 

We hope that this blog post has provided you with a better understanding of these idioms and how to use them effectively in your communication.

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