heart·break·ing | \ˈhärt-ˌbrā-kiŋ \

Definition of heartbreaking 

1 : causing intense sorrow or distress heartbreaking news a heartbreaking defeat

2 : producing an intense emotional reaction or response heartbreaking beauty

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Other Words from heartbreaking

heartbreakingly \ˈhärt-ˌbrā-kiŋ-lē \ adverb
a heartbreakingly tragic movie

Examples of heartbreaking in a Sentence

She wrote a heartbreaking story about the death of her grandfather. It was heartbreaking to know that there was nothing I could do. The team suffered another heartbreaking defeat.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Kylie Jenner was on the cover of Forbes Magazine today for having a net worth of 900 million dollars, which is heartbreaking. Rania Aniftos, Billboard, "There's a GoFundMe Dedicated to Raising $100M For Kylie Jenner to Become a Billionaire," 12 July 2018 Given how much the Queen enjoys their companionship, her tough decision feels especially heartbreaking. Caroline Picard, House Beautiful, "The Queen's Corgi Died and Here's Why She's Not Getting Any More," 10 Oct. 2016 As images and video of children in wire cages at detention centers circulate online, and heartbreaking stories of migrant parents being separated from their children are shared, the outrage continues to grow. Michelle Darrisaw, Essence.com, "Ava DuVernay Speaks Out Against Trump Administration’s Family Separation Policy: ‘We Cannot Allow This’," 20 June 2018 But what may have seemed like a fairy-tale ending to a heartbreaking story is apparently not meant to be. Breanna Edwards, The Root, "Biological Mom of Kamiyah Mobley Reveals She Is Not Speaking With Her Daughter: ‘I Shouldn’t Have to Compete With a Kidnapper’," 12 June 2018 Frank Luntz, stay right there, because Nigel Farage will join us from London to analyze the heartbreaking story of Little Alfie Evans. Fox News, "Nigel Farage talks Alfie Evans and Britain's medical system," 28 Apr. 2018 This report reveals the heartbreaking story of a tragic accident that claimed a young life. Uriel J. Garcia, azcentral, "Police conclude toddler's death at a Scottsdale fire station an accident," 27 Apr. 2018 The documentary tells a heartbreaking story about the cost of furthering medicine: the lives lost, the decisions made and the toll being a medical pioneer took on Starzl and his family. Ginger Christ, cleveland.com, "Cleveland International Film Festival: 'Burden of Genius' dissects medical pioneer's drive to succeed (review)," 6 Apr. 2018 What appeared to be a common cold, but was apparently influenza, ended up killing an otherwise healthy 12-year-old Florida boy — adding another heartbreaking story to the record of a deadly flu season. Jamie Ducharme, Time, "Healthy 12-Year-Old Florida Boy Dies Suddenly From the Flu, Family Says," 25 Jan. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'heartbreaking.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of heartbreaking

1591, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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Statistics for heartbreaking

Last Updated

9 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for heartbreaking

The first known use of heartbreaking was in 1591

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More Definitions for heartbreaking



English Language Learners Definition of heartbreaking

: causing great sadness, disappointment, etc.


heart·break·ing | \ˈhärt-ˌbrā-kiŋ \

Kids Definition of heartbreaking

: causing great sorrow a heartbreaking story

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