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break (one's) heart
To cause one to feel great sadness. This phrase is often said about the end of a romantic relationship. I know Adam broke your heart, but there are lots of guys out there who would treat you well. That poor, skittish cat just breaks my heart—I can't believe someone abandoned her!
break someone's heart
Fig. to cause someone great emotional pain. It just broke my heart when Tom ran away from home. Sally broke John's heart when she refused to marry him.
break (someone's) heart
To disappoint or dispirit someone severely.
break someone's heart, to
To make someone very unhappy, to cause great grief. The expression goes back at least to Chaucer’s time, and is echoed by poets in just about every era. “But break, my heart, for I must hold my tongue,” says Hamlet (1.2). Today the cliché is sometimes spoken ironically: “You break my heart,” meaning “I really don’t feel sorry for you.”
See also: break