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#199890 05/17/11 10:34 AM
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I've posted this on another forum, but you people are more like family, so I'd like to ask you:

I have noticed in, say, the last two or three years, that in news broadcasts, web interviews, and the like, concerning disasters, wars, and other violence, the results are always "heartwrenching," never "heartrending" anymore. A search of OneLook shows that "heartwrenching" essentially doesn't exist in dictionaries, "heartrending" is universal. A Google search shows 1,750,000 hits for "heartwrenching," 423,000 for "heartrending." Google Ngrams shows "heartwrenching" showing up in books about 1980 (there might be a tiny bump in the late 1930s, or that could be a rendering glitch), with "heartrending" in the lead, and both words increasing. This (Ngram) is American English "heartwrenching" is apparently very rare in British books.
Has anyone else noticed this trend, if trend it is, and is "heartrending" in possible jeopardy?

Peter

PS: I've been told that "heartrendering" also has a 101,000-hit Google presence.

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there must be fifty ways to break one's heart; e.g., heart-piercing, heart-wringing, heart-wrenching, heart-rending - heart-rending is sometimes malapropistically rendered as heart-rendering. "The true ground of action is the outrage and deprivation; the injury the father sustains in the loss of his child; the heart-rendering agony he must suffer in the destruction of his dearest hopes."

in any event, I don't think there's a "preferred" form, discounting the lattermost.

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I don't recall bumping into heart-wringing, and I guess I would interpret heart-piercing as by Cupid's arrow; that is, falling in love, not falling into anguish. In any case, I don't hear any of the variants: heartwrenching seems to be the mot-du-jour.

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The 'mot-du-jour' - I like that.


----please, draw me a sheep----
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Originally Posted By: Tromboniator
I don't recall bumping into heart-wringing, and I guess I would interpret heart-piercing as by Cupid's arrow; that is, falling in love, not falling into anguish. In any case, I don't hear any of the variants: heartwrenching seems to be the mot-du-jour.


1718 Pope tr. Homer Iliad IV. xiv. 569 Heart-piercing Anguish struck the Grecian Host. {heh}

1872 W. Black Strange Adventures Phaeton xxiii. 327 What bitterness and grievous heart-wringing. {shrug}

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Well, it's been a while.

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You just stab it in the back, Jack
Toss it in the can, Stan
You don't need to be coy, Roy
Just get yourself free
Throw it under the bus, Gus
You don't need to discuss much
Just break off the key, Lee
And get yourself free

(with apologies to Paul Simon)

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< g >

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"They called to one another with piercing, blood-curdling cries. ..... " (Tolkien)

Could this be love???? Oh no no, I associate heart-piercing with above type of cries.


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