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

But the sound that pours from this ragged body is as pure and as heartbreaking as a sunrise. Stephanie Zacharek, Time, "Review: 'The King' Is Both an Elvis Presley Documentary and a Song for America," 21 June 2018 These transients, damaged veterans and struggling families are all as heartbreaking and resilient as Pearl is, and Clement treats them with grace and compassion. Caroline Leavitt, San Francisco Chronicle, "‘Gun Love,’ by Jennifer Clement," 5 Apr. 2018 As heartbreaking as his friends consider his career finale to be, Bailey is remarkably unfazed. Andrew Goldman, Town & Country, "The Rise and Fall of F. Lee Bailey, the Lawyer Who Set O.J. Simpson Free," 9 Mar. 2018 This, although heartbreaking, can be a beautiful story of renewal. Carol Robinson, AL.com, "Bessemer business owner ID'd as man killed in drive-by shooting at Fairfield hotel," 16 Jan. 2018 Getty Images Elyse tells a heartbreaking story of her sister carrying her baby to term while battling cancer, and how the baby survived but her sister didn't. Amanda Mitchell, Marie Claire, "An Ode to the Glasses of This Week's Episode of 'The Bachelor'," 22 Jan. 2019 Hinson was moved to help families in need after her own faced a heartbreaking reality. Nick Maslow, PEOPLE.com, "Girl, 13, Who Started Food Pantry After Mom's Stroke Gets Surprise to Help Even More People," 18 June 2018 An especially heartbreaking incident occurred last November. Jon Ronson, Town & Country, "Trial By Hashtag," 13 Feb. 2015 There are allegations in Courtney Smith’s account—her claims in her Stadium interview that her abuse was met with inaction by people close to her—that are truly heartbreaking. Jason Gay, WSJ, "Urban Meyer and the God Complex in College Sports," 3 Aug. 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

13 Feb 2019

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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 How to pronounce heartbreaking (audio) \

Kids Definition of heartbreaking

: causing great sorrow a heartbreaking story

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More from Merriam-Webster on heartbreaking

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with heartbreaking

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for heartbreaking

Spanish Central: Translation of heartbreaking

Nglish: Translation of heartbreaking for Spanish Speakers

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