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heartrending

[hahrt-ren-ding]
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adjective
  1. causing or expressing intense grief, anguish, or distress.

Origin of heartrending

First recorded in 1680–90; heart + rending
Related formsheart·rend·ing·ly, adverb
Can be confusedgut-wrenching heartrending
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for heartrending

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • The case of Nick, although sore enough in its way, was not so heartrending as that of Kate.

    Ridgeway

    Scian Dubh

  • I rolled about on the ground, uttering the most heartrending cries.

    My Double Life

    Sarah Bernhardt

  • The scenes on the decks of the sinking liner were heartrending.

  • Now and again he let himself be caught by the heartrending accents of his wife.

    Therese Raquin

    Emile Zola

  • The next morning there came a heartrending letter from Aunt Ju.

    Is He Popenjoy?

    Anthony Trollope