world's tiniest violin

Hi there!

I’ve looked pretty far and wide for an answer to this but I can’t find it. I’d like to know the origin of one of my favorite phrases: “the world’s tiniest violin”. In case it’s more obscure than I think, it’s used to convey extremely sarcastic pity. As in: “Oh, no - Bill Gates lost a $20 bill in the washing machine? I think I hear the world’s tiniest violin playing a song just for him.”
I’ve also seen people rub their index finger and thumb and say to the person, “See this? It’s the world’s tiniest violin playing for you.” I always found this extremely funny.


I don’t have a cite, but I would assume that the sympathy isn’t worth a full-size violin. ‘The world’s tiniest violin’ implies that the person could not possibly care less.

FWIW, the way I heard it the song was My Heart Cries For You.

My father always used “Hearts and Flowers” as the song. It’s the generic “sad moment in the silent movie” music.