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

  • adj. Causing anguish or deep distress; arousing deep sympathy.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Having a strong effect upon the emotions, inclining one to sadness or pity; heart-breaking.


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • It was interesting to read it while watching the end of BSG: it approaches the divide between robot and human in very different (and heart-rending) ways.

    Non-American Fantasy «

  • I have no idea whether other people with high-functioning autism see the world this way; the viewpoint is the young author's own, and I found the book, published for the young adult market, consistently funny and heart-rending.

    Chicken Spaghetti:

  • Those final moments are heart-rending for their beauty, and their poignancy in the overall story.

    MOVIE REVIEW: The Fountain (2006)

  • I had also collected from my Mother the original censored telegrams (on pre-prepared Japanese Forms) that Dad had been allowed to eventually send from the camp to advise that he was alive (no emails/mobiles or Sky News in those days), as well as the heart-rending letters sent over time from his Mum and Dad written to him in hope, not knowing the fate of their only son.


  • "And yet, at a time when market pressures demand that new books be both funny and heart-rending, featuring characters who suffer and prevail, it is encouraging to come across writing that does not try to distract the reader from realising that death marches, the Kindertransport and the attentions of the secret police do something to a person, and those who love them."

    Critical eye: books review roundup

  • An ability to pivot drastically without strain—to go from black comedy to heart-rending affirmation—was one of Mr. Kubrick's great gifts as a filmmaker.

    A Great Film's Sadly Timeless Message

  • The Sandman Vol. 6 Fables & Reflections: "The Emperor of the United States of America" - up till then I liked the stories well enough, well told, fascinating craft at work - this was heart-rending in an uplifting, wonderful way, to carve out a purpose in life, even a phantom one. and to the poster who wrote:

    Six by 6 | Six comics that made us cry | Robot 6 @ Comic Book Resources – Covering Comic Book News and Entertainment

  • A heart-rending spectacle of obligatory pleasure taken very seriously, like National Service or a dose of cod liver oil.

    The Festival of Britain, 60 years on

  • That programme about the children in Thailand must have been so upsetting – the story of innocence destroyed is just heart-rending.

    Learning From Stories « Tales from the Reading Room

  • The situation in Haiti is awful and heart-rending.

    Think Progress » Beck: Obama is ‘dividing the nation’ by reacting ‘so rapidly to Haiti.’


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