Definition of heart-rending in English:



  • Causing great sadness or distress.

    ‘a heart-rending story’
    • ‘Everybody has bitter experiences, horrific memories, and heart-rending stories of the past.’
    • ‘The heart-rending scenes that he witnessed turned him into a social worker and a spiritual thinker.’
    • ‘Their stories are heart-rending and I am glad we are able to offer them the chance of safety and a better life.’
    • ‘There too I had heard heart-rending stories of the way maids were exploited and ill-treated by their employers.’
    • ‘Jacobs' heart-rending story never fails to move audiences to tears.’
    • ‘The girl uttered a cry, long, tremulous, heart-rending, piteous.’
    • ‘His final years in hospital were tragicomic and heart-rending.’
    • ‘The Prince listened as his former shipmate recounted a heart-rending story of his wife's illness and his own plunge into depression.’
    • ‘From Virginia now, a heart-rending story of early birth and early death here.’
    • ‘Her heart-rending story touched a nation and even inspired its Prime Minister.’
    • ‘Yes, there have been Brits caught up in the horror, with heart-rending stories of drowned families and friends.’
    • ‘Almost two years after Mary's untimely death, Kathleen is on a mission to make people aware of SADS with her heart-rending story.’
    • ‘Dylan's heart-rending story prompted seven times the normal number of inquiries to Adoption Matters from people desperate to adopt him.’
    • ‘There is nothing about the story that is not heart-rending, sickening or sordid.’
    • ‘This makes the events that follow all the more poignant, and later heart-rending.’
    • ‘This sounds like the set up of a heart-rending coming-of-old-age story.’
    • ‘At the moment of judgement, some displayed surprise, some anger, others a heart-rending sadness.’
    • ‘Their story, combining heart-rending drama and gutsy determination, was a natural for the big screen.’
    • ‘The storyline of the opera focuses on the heart-rending love story between the poet Rodolfo and the seamstress Mimi, a fragile but resolute girl.’
    • ‘And in the most heart-rending story, we were shown that in certain cases the whole regime is simply too much for some young people.’
    distressing, upsetting, disturbing, heartbreaking, sad, tragic, painful, saddening, traumatic, agonizing, desolate, harrowing, excruciating
    View synonyms