heart·​break·​ing | \ ˈhärt-ˌbrā-kiŋ How to pronounce heartbreaking (audio) \

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 How to pronounce heartbreakingly (audio) \ 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 The Mustangs hope the next week in Fort Worth is a lot better than last week, which included three heartbreaking losses in a six-day span. Sam Blum, Dallas News, "‘We’ve had a rough week’: SMU hits low point in struggles as it heads to AAC tournament," 8 Mar. 2020 Dave Allocca/Starpix/Shutterstock Eva Mendes and Ryan Gosling are a couple who love their dogs—and have suffered some heartbreaking pet losses over the past few years. Emily Dixon, Marie Claire, "Eva Mendes and Ryan Gosling Adopted a Doberman Puppy Named Lucho," 11 July 2019 But these heartbreaking catastrophes account for the minority of maternal deaths. Adam Wolfberg, STAT, "It will take a village to solve the epidemic of maternal deaths in the U.S.," 5 Mar. 2020 To look out and see the church, its just heartbreaking. Travis Loller, Anchorage Daily News, "At least 22 dead after tornadoes tear through Nashville area," 3 Mar. 2020 This often sets off a morbid competition of who can come up with the most heartbreaking -- and graphic -- details. Amy Dickinson, oregonlive, "Ask Amy: Older friends in ‘morbid competition’ about loved ones’ deaths or just sharing?," 15 Jan. 2020 The heartbreaking case of Michelle Monasky and Domenico Taglieri—the parents of this child who is known only as AMT in court papers—began as a cross-cultural love affair. Ephrat Livni, Quartz, "A case about international child abduction law has the world watching SCOTUS," 7 Dec. 2019 Few things have a strange way of both captivating my interest and totally turning me off like boxing, a sport of incredible skill filled with such impressive people, fascinating stories and sometimes truly heartbreaking results. Mike Anthony, courant.com, "Mike Anthony: Boxing deaths reminder of courage and insanity fighters carry into ring," 1 Aug. 2019 The Billies won their first 32 games of the season until dropping a heartbreaking 53-52 loss against Boerne in their regular season finale on Feb. 18. David Hinojosa, ExpressNews.com, "Boys basketball playoff preview: Key storylines to watch," 23 Feb. 2020

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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Time Traveler for heartbreaking

Time Traveler

The first known use of heartbreaking was in 1591

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Statistics for heartbreaking

Last Updated

26 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“Heartbreaking.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/heartbreaking. Accessed 3 Apr. 2020.

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More Definitions for heartbreaking


How to pronounce heartbreaking (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of heartbreaking

: causing great sadness, disappointment, etc.


heart·​break·​ing | \ ˈhärt-ˌbrā-kiŋ How to pronounce heartbreaking (audio) \

Kids Definition of heartbreaking

: causing great sorrow a heartbreaking story

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