French word of the day: Crève-coeur

French word of the day: Crève-coeur
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond
A eloquent expression of sadness has a distinctly grisly origin.

Why do I need to know crève-cœur ?

Because French people do not only use the word cœur to be romantic.

What does it mean ?

The word is composed of the verb crever, which means to break and cœur, meaning heart.

So a crève-cœur is something that gives you a lot of pain, something that breaks your heart.

The expression is also associated with regrets, when you lose something very important to you for example.

Even though the heart is very symbolic for love and compassion, the expression originally  refers to butchery, as hearts usually bleed the most (apparently).

Use it like this

Voir son café fermer à cause de la pandémie est un véritable crève-cœur pour le propriétaire – Having to close his café because of the pandemic is heartbreaking for the owner.

Elle a dû vendre la maison de ses parents, ça a été un crève-cœur – She had to sell her parents’ house, it was a a real heartache.


Désarroi – Distress

Chagrin – Sorrow

Affliction – Affliction

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