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What Does "Break Your Heart" Mean?

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  • Written By: Jim B.
  • Edited By: M. C. Hughes
  • Last Modified Date: 11 November 2016
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"Break your heart" is an English idiom describing someone who has been made extremely sad or upset by someone or something else. The most common usage of this idiom comes in terms of romantic relationships that have ended badly for one person involved. In addition, people may use the phrase on occasions when no romance is involved, especially if they are deeply saddened by some occurrence. This phrase gets its meaning from the fact the heart is often considered to be the organ in the human body which contains feelings of love.

There are often many different ways that a person has at his or her disposal to say essentially the same thing. While it would be fine to simply use the actual words which mean what they want to convey, there are times when more colorful and impactful language can be more effective. As examples of this type of language, idioms are phrases which gain meaning that can be far separate from the literal meaning of the words they contain. Popular usage of these phrases within a culture gives idioms their accepted meanings. "Break your heart" is one of the most popular idioms used to describe a romantic calamity.

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Obviously, someone who literally has a broken heart would have severe medical issues. That severity is where the idiom gets its powerful meaning. As an example of how it is used, imagine someone who says, "If she leaves you after all this time you've spent together, it will really break your heart."

Of course, there are many occasions which call for this idiom to be used, even if there is no relationship ending. For example, a death in the family can leave someone with a "broken heart." The usage of the expression has been stretched out so that is used in far less serious situations. In this vein, it wouldn't be unlikely for a sports fan to say, "You shouldn't ever expect that team to win the championship; they'll only break your heart in the end."

Since the phrase is romantic in nature, it is a very popular idiom for both poetry and song. Both of these methods of artistic expression often tend toward exaggerated, colorful expressions necessary to convey deep emotions. As such, "break your heart" is particularly suitable for those occasions. The idiom has become one of the most popular idioms in the entire English language, especially when the similar idiom "broken heart" is also taken into consideration.

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nony
Post 3

@hamje32 - Wherever you invest your emotions, you’re setting yourself up for a possible heartbreak. It could a job, a relationship or even your favorite sports team as the article points out.

Of course some heartbreaks are worse than others. Personally I agree that the important thing is what you do afterwards.

Some people don’t become sullen or depressed, but they shut themselves off from the rest of the world, never trusting anyone again. This fear of having your heart broken again is more paralyzing than the actual experience in my opinion.

hamje32
Post 2

@David09 - Heartbreak is one of the most overused idioms in the English language. The reason is obvious – we’ve all experienced it at one point or another.

Worse, some of us may have been the instigators of it in the life of someone else. If we were honest with ourselves we would admit that this is so.

However, we all have to learn to go on. You can’t sulk and live in depression. It’s a downhill path. Some people have turned to alcohol addiction as a result of a broken heart.

I think the best way to overcome a broken heart, ironically enough, is to focus on taking care of someone else. That will get your mind off yourself for awhile and pave the way for your own healing.

David09
Post 1

I realize that the term “break your heart” is figurative, but I’ve heard that it’s actually possible to die of a broken heart. I remember hearing once that people can die out of loneliness.

Supposedly scientists have discovered that lonely people have higher rates of blood pressure and other diseases as a result of loneliness. Could a heartbreak be the cause of loneliness?

I think without a doubt, this is so. A lost loved one or a failed relationship could turn someone in on themselves, and start a cascade of medical crises that ends in death.

I am not saying that this is going to happen all the time, but it certainly could. It’s better to be happy and socially involved if you want to live a long life in my opinion.

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