What are crocodile tears?

Crocodile tears are hypocritical tears or pretended grief. The phrase alludes to an old myth that crocodiles moan and sigh like distressed human beings to allure travelers within their reach. Another version of the myth was that crocodiles shed tears over their prey while in the act of eating it. There are secretions in the eyes of crocodiles to keep them moist, just as there are in all animals, but crocodiles have no tear glands and do not “weep” in the ordinary sense of the term. Scientists, however, say that a watery liquid oozes from the eyes of crocodiles and alligators, when they attempt to swallow something too large for them.