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[hahrt-brey-king] /ˈhɑrtˌbreɪ kɪŋ/
causing intense anguish or sorrow.
Origin of heartbreaking
First recorded in 1600-10; heartbreak + -ing2
Related forms
heartbreakingly, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for heartbreaking
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The firmness of his manner, the gentleness, had a heartbreaking effect.

    The Law-Breakers Ridgwell Cullum
  • He gained it in a final, heartbreaking burst of speed on the part of his mount.

    The Coyote James Roberts
  • It was heartbreaking to be there beside him and yet to feel myself so far away from him.

    Possessed Cleveland Moffett
  • It seemed to her amazing that he should continue this heartbreaking quest.

    Colorado Jim

    George Goodchild
  • Then he began to laugh, and that laugh was the most heartbreaking thing in the world.

    Notre-Dame de Paris Victor Hugo
British Dictionary definitions for heartbreaking


extremely sad, disappointing, or pitiful
Derived Forms
heartbreakingly, adverb
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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