[ hahrt-ren-ding ]
See synonyms for heartrending on Thesaurus.com
  1. causing or expressing intense grief, anguish, or distress.

Origin of heartrending

First recorded in 1680–90; heart + rending

Other words from heartrending

  • heart·rend·ing·ly, adverb

Words that may be confused with heartrending

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use heartrending in a sentence

  • The most heart-rending events connected with these disasters occurred everywhere throughout the country.

  • The wailings of the damned can never be more heart-rending, as they were driven out, crying, 'O Lord!

    The Boys of '61 | Charles Carleton Coffin.
  • This mad, sad, heart-rending, adventure must have driven him to insanity.

    The Ghost Breaker | Charles Goddard
  • With the morning light the scene of destruction presented to the eyes of the survivors was truly heart-rending.

    Hurricane Hurry | W.H.G. Kingston
  • It is heart-rending to look at a picture such as this; it is sad to think of it and to write about it.

    The Civil War Through the Camera | Henry W. (Henry William) Elson

British Dictionary definitions for heart-rending


  1. causing great mental pain and sorrow

Derived forms of heart-rending

  • heart-rendingly, 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