Here’s something heart-wrenching: most dictionaries do not accept the word heart-wrenching. The same dictionaries that have picked up google as a verb have yet to give credence to heart-wrenching.
Most people—ahem, like me—have used heart-wrenching as an adjective to describe something that causes severe emotional pain. The term blends heart + wrench (that is, to twist or pull violently).* Heart-wrenching most likely takes its cue from gut-wrenching.
What is found in all dictionaries is the term heartrending, defined as “causing anguish or deep distress” or “arousing deep sympathy” or something extremely moving.** The term was first used in 1594,*** a blend of heart + rend (that is, to tear or split apart violently).
Interestingly, the archaic meaning of rend is to wrench.****
How about you? Do you use heart-wrenching? It might be time the dictionaries accept the word. After all, some of them already list the portmanteau chillax (blending chill and relax).***** So why not heart-wrenching?
**** The New Oxford-American Dictionary
Photo credit: Mobile Wallpapers