What's a heartache

Heartache Definition & Meaning - Merriam-Webster

heart·​ache ˈhärt-ˌāk 

: anguish of mind : sorrow


  • affliction
  • anguish
  • dolefulness
  • dolor
  • grief
  • heartbreak
  • sorriness
  • sorrow
  • woe

See all Synonyms & Antonyms in Thesaurus 

Example Sentences

I've had more than my share of heartaches in my life. the heartache she felt when she saw the innocent victims of the war

Recent Examples on the Web Lisa Mears, Coon's mother, wrote a letter to the court describing her heartache at losing her son and forgiving Murr for that loss. —Miguel Torres, The Arizona Republic, 25 July 2021 Fry apologized Saturday to the families of the victims for their heartache. —Minyvonne Burke, NBC News, 31 Dec. 2022 In the days since his death, those who worked with him on SYTYCD, The Ellen Show, World of Dance, and Magic Mike XXL shared their heartache and condolences for tWitch’s family. —Jason P. Frank, Vulture, 23 Dec. 2022 Jaymay, who made a terrific album of Christmas originals a few years back, is here to convey that mixture of heartache and sheer aggravation that only those who’ve been ditched just in time for the holidays know. —Chris Willman, Variety, 24 Dec. 2022 With honeyed vocals and a potent dose of gallows humor, the shape-shifting crooner is reborn as a Sinatra-style lounge act, weaving wistful tales of heartache and tragedy over lush orchestrations. —Melissa Ruggieri, USA TODAY, 22 Dec. 2022 In many ways, the list unfurls like a scroll of heartache and disappointment across the front yard of U.S. education. —Rod Berger, Forbes, 30 June 2022 Save yourself the future heartache and privacy violations and end it now. —Anna Pulley, Chicago Tribune, 10 May 2022 Slatkin’s score is distinct and fitting, driving the documentary with detective-flick tension, plaintive heartache and shimmering hope as needed. —Brian Mccollum, Detroit Free Press, 27 Apr. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'heartache.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

First Known Use

1578, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler

The first known use of heartache was in 1578

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near


heart's desire


heart and soul

See More Nearby Entries 

Cite this Entry



“Heartache. Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/heartache. Accessed 2 Feb. 2023.

Copy Citation

Kids Definition



heart·​ache ˈhärt-ˌāk 

: sorrow entry 1 sense 1a, anguish

More from Merriam-Webster on


Nglish: Translation of heartache for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of heartache for Arabic Speakers

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

Merriam-Webster unabridged


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Commonly Confused Words Quiz

  • I went to the ______ store to buy a birthday card.
  • stationary stationery

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!


Can you make 12 words with 7 letters?


Heartache Definition & Meaning | Dictionary.com

  • Top Definitions
  • Quiz
  • Related Content
  • Examples
  • British

This shows grade level based on the word's complexity.

[ hahrt-eyk ]

/ ˈhɑrtˌeɪk /

Save This Word!

See synonyms for heartache on Thesaurus.com

This shows grade level based on the word's complexity.


emotional pain or distress; sorrow; grief; anguish.



Smoothly step over to these common grammar mistakes that trip many people up. Good luck!

Question 1 of 7

Fill in the blank: I can’t figure out _____ gave me this gift.

Origin of heartache

before 1000; Middle English hert ache,Old English heort ece;see heart, ache


heartaching, adjective

Words nearby heartache

hearsay rule, hearse, Hearst, Hearst, William Randolph, heart, heartache, heart and soul, heart attack, heartbeat, heart block, heartbreak

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

Words related to heartache

agony, bitterness, despair, grief, heartbreak, misery, pang, sadness, suffering, torment, affliction, dejection, depression, despondency, distress, dolor, hurting, remorse, torture, broken heart

How to use heartache in a sentence

  • I’ll always cherish the experiences and wonderful adventures cycling has given me while also acknowledging that it has brought me plenty of heartache and disappointment, and I’m emotionally and mentally exhausted.

    Katie Compton on USADA Ban: ”I Have Always Been a Clean Athlete”|jversteegh|August 12, 2021|Outside Online

  • On the 10th anniversary of the case, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office put out a video in which Rose’s mother, Candus Harer, who is also Summer’s grandmother, talked about the heartache.

    Summer Wells’ Dad Says He’s Haunted by Her Aunt’s Decade-Old Disappearance|Tracy Connor|July 1, 2021|The Daily Beast

  • No stadium required During a major sporting event, fans look for a place to go — somewhere to share their joy or heartache with other fans.

    In the wake of COVID, sports fans have gone social|Twitter|October 22, 2020|Digiday

  • She said she and her co-workers could have avoided heartache if the company had simply addressed her questions and found FDA-authorized masks back in May.

    Foreign Masks, Fear and a Fake Certification: Staff at CSL Plasma Say Conditions at Donation Centers Aren’t Safe|by J. David McSwane|September 21, 2020|ProPublica

  • His success later in the afternoon has staggered a nation and sent two families reeling from heartache that never diminishes.

    Any Outrage Out There for Ramos and Liu, Protesters?|Mike Barnicle|December 22, 2014|DAILY BEAST

  • But now the feelings of heartache increased as the workload diminished.

    The Resilient City: New York After 9/11|John Avlon|September 11, 2014|DAILY BEAST

  • Take responsibility for yourself and your loved ones for these situations carry great burden and heartache.

    How To Avoid Brain Death Purgatory|Dr. Anand Veeravagu, MD, Robert M. Lober, MD, PhD|January 31, 2014|DAILY BEAST

  • With each new tragedy that unfolds comes grief and heartache, but also an opportunity to educate.

    Inside Florida’s Battle With the Flesh-Eating Vibrio Vulnificus|Jacqui Goddard|October 8, 2013|DAILY BEAST

  • Now comes the real heartache, the stuff I could write a country song about.

    Errors in the Field|Michael Tomasky|April 24, 2013|DAILY BEAST

  • I'll wager those are seniors, who already feel a little heartache because their college years are so nearly over.

    A Hoosier Chronicle|Meredith Nicholson

  • Should he condemn himself and Doris Cleveland to heartache and loneliness because of a technicality?

    The Hidden Places|Bertrand W. Sinclair

  • So there my darling boat lay idly in the lagoon—a useless thing, whose sight filled me with heartache and despair.

    The Adventures of Louis de Rougemont|Louis de Rougemont

  • Her position is not a happy one, but she must smile and be gay and hide her heartache.

    The Highgrader|William MacLeod Raine

  • But the great happiness that was Roland's was not without its heartache.

    With Spurs of Gold|Frances Nimmo Greene

British Dictionary definitions for heartache


/ (ˈhɑːtˌeɪk) /


intense anguish or mental suffering

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Mental pain - Psychologos

January 01, 2010, 07:54

Author: N. I. Kozlov, Doctor of Psychology, Professor
Rector of the University of Practical Psychology

The film “I am Wolf Messing”

Mental pain, the pain of the spiritual body is a popular psychological metaphor that has become a life reality due to its popularity.

Heartache as a fairy tale of our culture - a rich experience that speaks of the depth and closeness of relationships. Mental pain as an everyday circumstance, as a reality - an unpleasant sensation of a psychosomatic nature, the responsibility for the occurrence of which is shifted to external circumstances and others. nine0003

Mental pain occurs when a person in some situation has physical tension and breath holding - associated, for example, with the experience of fear or pent-up anger. If a person draws this situation into a fairy tale of mental pain, interprets it not as pure physiology, but as an event of his mental life, or, more precisely, as a nuisance or a nightmare-horror, then now he does not just feel muscle tension and clamps, but is already experiencing spiritual pain. pain.

Film "Chocolate"

Sometimes mental pain occurs as a reaction, as an associative connection of some unpleasant event with the memory of past painful experiences, sometimes adults create mental pain for themselves.

If you know that the woman you love won't come back, why did you put her picture in front of you? To poison the soul?

Quite often there is one or another inner benefit behind mental pain: a desire to attract attention, fear of failure, revenge or a struggle for power. It should also be taken into account that modern culture cultivates mental pain. She educates people with mental pain, considering it a virtue and accustoming them to the fact that the experience of mental pain is natural, inevitable, and is the dignity of an educated person. nine0003

“His SOUL HURTS for his cause!” / “Well, did you miss me at least a little?” / "Of course I'm upset! I don't care!"

If the soul is not disturbed, mental pain disappears by itself approximately at the same speed with which muscle clamps relax: in children in a few hours, in adults in a few days, in elderly people in a few weeks.

Unfortunately, people who are prone to painful experiences have a habit of “rubbing salt in the wound”: raising painful topics, seeing a person to whom they are attached, but with whom relations are hopeless, in a situation of acute experience (“an unhealed spiritual wound” ) to remember what was expensive, but not to return. As an opportunity to occupy a void in the soul or entertain yourself with your favorite pastime, this can be understood, but seriously torturing yourself like this is stupid and unworthy. nine0003

Let's take into account that people around you can consciously or not create mental pain (the methods are the same - raise topics that are painful for you, strain attachment, hit sore points in the soul). In this case, perhaps you should reconsider your relationship with these people, or at least temporarily reduce contact with them.

The occurrence of mental pain can be prevented by developing one's emotional stability, training one's mental fortitude, strengthening one's spiritual invulnerability when encountering at least life's trifles. nine0003

Strange as it may seem, chewing gum is the funniest, yet effective remedy. It has been repeatedly verified: if only the sufferer begins to vigorously and thoughtfully process the sweet rubber with his jaws, after about ten minutes both the sweetness of the chewing gum and the bitterness of suffering disappear. Try to imagine:

– Luis Alberto, I am suffering so much! whispered Marianne, vigorously chewing her gum...

Why is this happening? The fact is that mental suffering involves a rather subtle work of the facial muscles, and blunt and hard movements of the jaws with vigorous chewing destroy them. However, if a person suffers habitually, sluggishly, depressively, then habitual sluggish chewing does not prevent this. nine0003

The removal of mental pain in the work of a psychologist is a separate issue, here we have to talk about very different things. It is one thing to relieve acute mental pain, and another is painstaking work to eliminate sore points in the soul. In any case, everything is real, there would be a desire. That is what is most important.

  • Author N.I. Kozlov
  • +
  • Psyche, health

Comments (21):

Guest, April 11, 2014, 6:45 pm

I am alone. I have many friends, but I am alone. So willing to tell everything, so willing to cry. But alas, I'm lonely! nine0003



N.I. Kozlov, April 11, 2014, 7:49 pm

Do you want to complain and talk about it? Or are you planning to change something? If you plan to change - great, we will support you in this. Complaining and crying is a dead end.

Guest, September 03, 2014, 10:11 am

By the way. Thanks for the gum. Perhaps there is some self-hypnosis here, but it works just magically!

Valeriya, September 23, 2014, 13:06

About chewing gum - so funny! But look: a person feels bad, but there is no will to decide to change the situation. Well, not at all, stuck, mired in weakness. What then - outside help? nine0003



Maxim Shevchenko, September 23, 2014, 2:46 pm

Nothing. If there is a matter of life and death, then he will forget about his bad and do something more sensible than to suffer. So, he really can, but he portrays suffering and waits for someone to save him. You don't need to help them.

Guest, December 05, 2014, 8:15 PM

I am in a lot of pain all the time. You have to communicate with the ex-wife and children of your beloved man. I'm scared and uncomfortable with communication. What should I do? nine0003

Laura, December 21, 2014, 9:09 pm

There is such a mess in my head, what to do, what to do next, why it’s all so hard from hopelessness, from not knowing what and how to do it right, from that nothing can be returned and everything has already begun to spin, from what is to come and it’s just scary to feel pain, both physical and mental, and to know that there will be a lot more of it. And so you want someone to hug, hide under your wing, protect you from all troubles and not allow anyone to offend you. I know what you thought, again whining, again cockroaches, but it’s really so hard for me, it’s so painful, lonely and scary, and I’m completely at a loss, but you have to be strong and cope with all the existing hardships, but what you have inside, no one cares about the fact that the stone in the chest does not allow breathing and that the pillow is all wet with tears, no one cares, and you have only yourself, who will console and hide, and will not let you die, but after all, so often you just want to dissolve in the air, disappear from life forever and never feel anything again. But it turned out to be easy, you have to chew chewing gum ...



Yana, April 08, 2015 9:19 PM

Thank you.

Elena, May 30, 2015, 10:35 pm

I have not lived for half a year, but I am trying to survive. .. But hope is melting, and I am melting with her...



Olesya, December 4, 2015 11:44 AM

I understand you... same thing.

Guest, December 24, 2014, 07:34 PM

Wonderful article!

Alexander, ardent reader, May 02, 2015, 00:49

Greetings. I read books by N.I. Kozlov and everything is just wonderful, but! Remind me, please, what to do when, at least for a change or an exception to the rules, the soul and the body require me (him) to be pitied / hugged / allowed to cry and "solved all problems"? And to say to yourself resolutely “Yes, you are so good and well done, go on enjoy life in spite of everything” is no longer strong (or you just don’t really want to)? Is it really necessary to constantly apply the scheme “we work from dawn to lunch, from lunch to dawn” to the psyche, because there is some kind of resource? nine0003

Tarasov Grigory, August 13, 2015, 02:35

Wonderful article! I write in my diary: "When talking about difficult things, if appropriate, it is necessary to insert a joke so that readers / listeners relax. "

Guest, May 16, 2016, 04:45 AM

Good article. But. When a person is hurt, he cannot change the situation, or simply does not want to. Although he understands that there is no future. What then? I feel better when I hurt myself. Really easier. I understand that this is not correct. No exit. I can't do it alone. nine0003

Guest, September 28, 2017, 03:08 AM

Hello, I would like to know how to stop torturing yourself for not saying something, did something wrong? The feeling of guilt in front of my mother does not subside, I remained an orphan at the age of 15, and instead of spending time with her, I was only angry and offended by her, giving me a reason to feel like a burden (she was ill for 6 years). I understand that I need to live so that she is proud of me and that my children are happy in the future, but still emotions return when there is no strength to restrain them and hide them. I stopped communicating with other people, I find them not interesting for communication, everything is painfully predictable. I stopped feeling anything at all, no emotions and feelings, turned away from everyone, but it’s hard for me and I don’t know how to deal with myself .. I study, work, attend training, read a lot and, in general, develop in different areas. But nowhere can I find solace and with no one. I don’t think about suicide, it’s all nonsense, so even though I’m empty inside, I realize and understand everything. And living like this is not an option, it is already existence when there are no emotions...



Kozlov Nikolai Ivanovich, September 28, 2017, 07:28

You can't do it yourself, you need the help of a specialist. More precisely, in a few years it will resolve itself, but is it necessary to wait so long? I recommend the consultation of Marina Konstantinovna Smirnova (see the Consultation tab in the menu), everything will become clearer and brighter, and after it - take the Distance course! Life goes on, don't give up!

Guest, February 06, 2020, 9:01 PM

I laughed out loud at that gum fact, nice point you made, and a very useful observation.

Guest, February 25, 2020, 00:44

What happens when you completely stop feeling emotional pain. She just doesn't exist. Not a drop.

Guest, August 12, 2020, 13:49

Found this topic just in time. Mental pain haunts me for many years. Well, a lot. Sometimes I am aware of its causes, but more often not. In life, I really do not know how to rejoice. I don’t know how to laugh and for good I envy those who can do it. Outwardly, my life has taken shape. Soon half a century, as married. Three adult children. There are families. Four grandchildren. And I'm famous in my region. I am a writer. I have 16 books. Of course, I'm not perfect. But if you compare your life with others, then I would say, looking back, that I really know the taste of happiness ... Happiness that did not fall from the sky. Happiness, felt not often, but only realized. This pain is like lingering guilt. Moreover, not specifically for something, but for its very existence. There are no panic attacks here. In especially difficult times, I can switch off and resolve issues in critical situations. That is, in this regard, I have a slow reaction. Then I realize that I was in danger. For example, the summer of 2014 in Lugansk. I stayed. Together with everyone, I searched for water, survived without electricity and gas, for 4 months. And I also looked for poets who were also in the city and wrote under shells. I took their poems and diaries, fresh, torn to pieces by a terrible time and smelling of smoke from an explosion. Then I published all this with my comments. And I don’t remember that then I had such a terrible and often inexplicable pain in my soul. There was an awareness that "if not me, then who ..." There was a conscious disconnection from danger. And even warmed the hope that we would all survive. And what we write will be seen and appreciated. Survived. We were seen. We were appreciated. But again the pain shied away, the almost unceasing pain! I exchanged 8 decades. I have a new book in the works. I understand that all these years, I have been pouring out ever-increasing pain into books, polishing and presenting it in an understandable, artistic language, without deviating from the veracity of the presentation. I am also an astrologer and I earn from it. And, of course, she disassembled herself. And I know the reason ... pliz, and even the need for this pain! But this is unbearable! How to silence her? nine0003

Guest, December 10, 2020, 10:02 PM

Can you recommend books on the topic of psychological and mental pain and how to deal with it?



Sokolova L.V., secretary N.I. Kozlova, December 11, 2020, 10:49

Guest, Nikolai Ivanovich discusses these issues and many other important and interesting things in the DISTANT-NIK Club">https://distant-nik.ru/">DISTANT -NIK» 7 days - free of charge. Join now!

Related materials:

Jan 01 2010


Pain is a sensation from pain receptors, one of the basic innate sensations, along with the sense of touch, taste, temperature and muscle sensations. Pain in the body can be dull and sharp, strong and weak, sick and healthy, real and phantom, generated by the body and having psychosomatic roots. A special kind of pain is a headache. The psychological type of pain is mental pain.

0Read more

Oct 01 2022

Heartache as a fairy tale and reality

Heartache as a fairy tale of our culture is a rich experience that speaks of the depth and closeness of relationships. In this tale, the more it hurts the soul at the loss, the more the lost was dear to you, and the more loving is not the one who cares more, but who suffers more. Heartache is considered a treasure to be treasured.

0Read more

31 Dec. 2005

Culture of mental pain

Culture of mental pain: knowing where and to what extent the experience of mental pain is adequate and justified, and where it is stupid and inappropriate. Modern culture cultivates mental pain. She educates people with mental pain, considering it a virtue and accustoming them to the fact that the experience of mental pain is natural, inevitable, and is the dignity of an educated person. nine0003

1Read more

Jan 01 2012

Working with mental pain

Working with mental pain - recognition of the cause of mental pain, its prompt removal and prevention of a new occurrence of mental pain. Attention - if someone has not just a mental pain, but a whole spiritual wound, then this article is not for him. A bruise can be treated at home, and wounds are treated in a hospital. If you have something serious, do not self-medicate, go to a specialist.


Oct 1 2022

Occurrence, maintenance and removal of mental pain

Mental pain occurs when a person in some situation has physical tension and breath holding (associated, for example, with experiencing fear or delayed anger)


Mental pain affects the brain like physical pain, scientists believe

https://ria. ru/20110329/358830290.html


Mental pain affects the brain like physical pain, scientists say - RIA Novosti, 03/29/2011

Mental pain affects the brain like physical pain, scientists say

Physical trauma and a strong sense of social rejection cause the same reactions in the human brain, American scientists write in an article published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.





RIA Novosti





[email protected]

7 495 645-6601

FSUE MIA Today "

https: // XN --c1acbl2abdlkab1og.xn--p1ai/awards/




https://xn--c1acbl2abdlkab1og.xn-- p1ai/

RIA Novosti




96 9000

[email protected]

7 495 645-6601

FSUE MIA Russia Today "

https: //xn-c1acbl2abdlkab1og. xn-p1ai/avards/

9000 1920 1920 1920 1920










RIA Novosti




96 9000

[email protected]

7 495 645-6603

FSUE MIA today

https: // XN-C1ACBL2ABDLKab1G. XN-P1AI/ Awards/

RIA Novosti





[email protected]

7 495 645-6601

FSUE MIA Russia Today

HTTPS ://xn--c1acbl2abdlkab1og.xn--p1ai/awards/

MOSCOW, March 29 - RIA Novosti. Physical trauma and a strong sense of social rejection cause the same reactions in the human brain, American scientists write in an article published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Social psychologist Ethan Kross of the University of Michigan (USA) and colleagues have shown that the same areas of the brain are activated both in response to pain sensations and in response to experiences caused by strong feelings of loneliness and rejection. nine0003

"At first glance, the feeling of spilling hot coffee on yourself and the feeling of being rejected should cause very different types of pain. But our research shows that they may be even more similar than thought ", - said Cross, whose words are quoted in the message of the university.

The authors of the article showed for the first time that pain and the "feeling of abandonment" cause activity in two areas of the brain - in the secondary somatosensory and insular cortex.

For the study, scientists selected 40 people (of which 21 were women) who had experienced a breakup in a romantic relationship in the last six months and felt rejected. Each participated in two parts of the experiment - one was associated with the feeling of "social" pain, and the second - with the feeling of physical pain.

Learn more