pipe one’s eye



  • verb to weep. This phrase is now almost obsolete, except in self-consciously fanciful speech. Although ‘pipe your eye’ has been interpreted as cockney rhyming slang for cry, the expression had been recorded as early as the beginning of the 19th century (before either cockney rhyming slang or the use of the word cry to mean weep were widespread). Connections have been drawn with plaintive, tear-provoking pipe music or the more prosaic image of waterworks, but the precise origins of the term remain uncertain.