What Does Broken Heart Mean?

Broken Heart Meaning

Definition: To be hurt by a loved one; to hurt someone who loves you.

People often use this expression when someone ends a romantic relationship. However, they can also use it when anyone they love disappoints them greatly.

The noun phrase a broken heart and the adjective heartbroken are alternative forms of this idiom.

Origin of a Broken Heart

This expression originated around the 1300s. The heart is often believed to be the source of emotions.

Examples of a Broken Heart

Breaking my heartIn this dialogue, two employees are discussing a recent breakup that one of them experienced.

Deanna: Emily, are you okay? You look upset.

Emily: I am a little bit upset.

Deanna: What happened?

Emily: Rogelio and I broke up last night.

Deanna: Oh no! I’m sorry to hear that. Is there anything I can do to help?

Emily: No. I feel like he broke my heart. I just need some time to recover.

Breaking your heartIn the second example, two friends are walking home after baseball practice.

Billy: So what happened to your car?

Angie: It’s actually my mom’s car, and she was just letting me borrow it. She decided to take it back.

Billy: Why? Did she need it for something?

Angie: No. She was just mad at me and wanted to punish me. I decided I wanted to become an engineer instead of a doctor, and I changed my major at my college.

Billy: Oh! And that upset her?

Angie: Yeah. She said I broke her heart. She really wanted me to become a doctor, like her.

More Examples

This example is about a woman who died of cancer one day before her wedding.    

  • A month after being given three years to live, Swabey joined Tinder, where she met Andy Bell. She told Marie Claire she disclosed she was going to die to Bell up front, knowing that it meant she was doomed to “break his heart.” USA Today

This excerpt is from a review of a movie that came out years ago. Some girls want to make a boy at their school fall in love and then make him very sad.

  • Though the title suggests the JTMD is a horror film; it’s not. It’s a movie about four scorned girls from disparate cliques obsessing over one guy with well-manicured eyebrows (Jesse Metcalfe’s John Tucker), and planning to destroy his reputation and break his heart. –USA Today


To break someone’s heart describes romantic loss, or great emotional pain. A broken heart is the result of this romantic loss.