heart·​rend·​ing ˈhärt-ˌren-diŋ How to pronounce heartrending (audio)
heartrendingly adverb

Examples of heartrending in a Sentence

couldn't bear to see the heartrending photos of victims of the famine a heartrending choice between saving his daughter or his son
Recent Examples on the Web In its most heartrending section, a physical manifestation of the broken mother-child bond, 144 teak drawers slide open to display delicate objects that had been severed in half. Maria Laurino, The New Republic, 29 June 2023 Those possibilities become still more heartrending when Allison is allowed out on parole for a day, in scenes that Breslin plays with a wrenching mix of toughness, resignation and despair. Christi Carras, Los Angeles Times, 3 Aug. 2021

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'heartrending.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1621, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of heartrending was in 1621

Dictionary Entries Near heartrending

Cite this Entry

“Heartrending.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/heartrending. Accessed 23 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


heart·​rend·​ing ˈhärt-ˌren-diŋ How to pronounce heartrending (audio)
: causing heartbreak
a heartrending tragedy
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!