causing intense anguish or sorrow.

Origin of heartbreaking

First recorded in 1600–10; heartbreak + -ing2
Related formsheart·break·ing·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for heartbreaking

Contemporary Examples of heartbreaking

Historical Examples of heartbreaking

  • 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.


    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.

British Dictionary definitions for heartbreaking



extremely sad, disappointing, or pitiful
Derived Formsheartbreakingly, 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