In Halsey's "You Should Be Sad", there's one part that goes like this:

I'm just glad I made it out without breakin' down
And then ran so fuckin' far
That you would never ever touch me again
Won't see your alligator tears
'Cause, no, I've had enough of them

While listening, the phrase "alligator tears" caught my attention. The expression "crocodile tears" means fake crying, faking being sorry about something, or otherwise insincere emotion. It comes from people believing that crocs would cry when eating their prey.

So why would the lyrics use "alligator tears" here? "alligator" and "crocodile" are the same number of syllables - 4 - so I don't think it's a scansion-related decision.

How does the use of "alligator" instead of "crocodile" change the meaning here? Why the swap?

  • 2
    Is 'crocodile' really four syllables? I'd have said the 'dile' is one syllable. It suppose it may depend on one's accent, maybe some say 'cro-co-die-yul'. I'm not familiar with the artist's accent, beyond a note on wikipedia that they sing in a different one than they speak in. But if you listen to Bill Haley and his Comets (for example) sing 'See you later alligator, after a while crocodile', crocodile is closer to 'croco-die', a definite 3 syllables.
    – Spagirl
    Sep 3 '21 at 14:54

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