Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Causing overwhelming grief or distress.
  • adj. Producing a strong emotional reaction: heartbreaking loveliness.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. That causes great grief, anguish or distress.
  • n. The breaking of a heart; great grief, anguish or distress.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Causing overpowering sorrow.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Causing great grief or anguish; very distressing or pitiful.
  • n. Same as heartbreak.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. causing or marked by grief or anguish

Etymologies

heart +‎ breaking (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • And the title story, “Jesus Out To Sea,” is just plain heartbreaking, no matter how many times you read it.

    Kristine Kathryn Rusch » 2008 » June

  • Virginia (5-4, 3-2) had its four-game winning streak end, and in heartbreaking fashion, too, after shutting down the ACC's best scoring offense until the very end.

    USATODAY.com

  • Also heartbreaking is the moment when he's kneeling in front of her, holding her as he must have done as a child, with his head in her lap, so upset -- and we feel the full effect of his estrangement from her.

    Brief thoughts of a Bardish nature

  • Having watched reasonably moderate candidates lose the last two presidential elections in heartbreaking fashion, and feeling further frustrated by the steady failure to win either house of Congress, Democrats have made it an article of faith that they lack the political and policy mechanisms to compete with their Republican counterparts.

    Take Two: Hillary's Choice

  • The couple is calling on Prime Minister Stephen Harper to end the hunt, which they described as a heartbreaking slaughter.

    Archive 2006-03-01

  • The San Francisco Chronicle wrote, "[Bohjalian’s] hallmark: Ordinary people in heartbreaking circumstances behaving with grace and dignity."

    Before You Know Kindness by Chris Bohjalian: Questions

  • Losing its last overtime matchup in heartbreaking fashion to

    USATODAY.com

  • On my way back to the office, we cut through the City of Mandaluyong, with its own distinct character (like an old person being forced to adopt to change, and both succeeding and failing in heartbreaking ways).

    notes from the peanut gallery

  • The Chargers lost here in heartbreaking fashion, 24-22, last December as Michael Husted kicked a 38-yard field goal with

    USATODAY.com

  • Kemmy described the woman's story as "heartbreaking" - particularly because the woman was unable to care for herself or her children and had to rely on the services of a care facility.

    statesmanjournal.com - Top Stories

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