also lacrymose, 1660s, "tear-like," from Latin lacrimosus "tearful, sorrowful, weeping," also "causing tears, lamentable," from lacrima, lacryma "a tear," a dialect-altered borrowing of Greek dakryma "a tear," from dakryein "to shed tears, weep, lament with tears," from dakry "a tear" (from PIE *dakru- "tear;" see tear (n.1)). Meaning "given to tears, tearful" is first attested 1727; meaning "of a mournful character" is from 1822. Related: Lachrymosely.
The -d- to -l- alteration in Latin is the so-called "Sabine -L-"; compare Latin olere "smell," from root of odor, and Ulixes, the Latin form of Greek Odysseus. The Medieval Latin practice of writing -ch- for -c- before Latin -r- also altered anchor, pulchritude, sepulchre. The -y- is pedantic, from the former belief that the word was pure Greek. Earlier in the same sense was lachrymental (1620s). Middle English had lacrymable "tearful" (mid-15c.).
updated on April 24, 2016