I am writing an essay on Shakespeare’s Othello and need a fitting word that means something along the lines of breaking something that is already broken as a result of other means. My phrase is:

[...] drove the blade deep into his ____ heart.

I need a word there that describes the fragile state of the heart after it has been (emotionally) broken through love (in a bad way) and is about to be killed through a physical object. In this case, the blade being pushed into the man’s chest.

Hopefully my question makes sense, I am struggling to put my thoughts into text but if you need any clarification, please ask.

  • I'm not offering this as an answer since it doesn't fit your sample, but the same sentiment is expressed by the idiom rub salt in the wound, meaning to intentionally make poor feelings worse.
    – cobaltduck
    Oct 11, 2016 at 13:45
  • If it ain't fixed, don't break it.
    – Hot Licks
    Oct 22, 2016 at 17:45

3 Answers 3


How about tormented?

torment - great mental suffering and unhappiness, or great physical pain: http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/torment

Google Books shows 4,480 results for "tormented heart", among them:

That agonized, tormented heart, which at the beginning so awfully relieved itself in the rush of blood and the bursting of his pores, at length broke.

I kissed him tenderly upon the lips and felt desire and yearning multiply within his tormented heart.

Give me time to repair my tormented heart and to see the future more clearly.

There I stood in a world created by thought and suffused with feeling, and with me, the lonely woman into whose tormented heart I had peeped in that arrestive moment.

The combintion of wine and his beloved only child, they knew, would provide the necessary solace to the tormented heart of their master.

It is also the title of two songs, Tormented Heart and My Tormented Heart.


Drove the blade deep into his vulnerable heart.

Able to be easily physically, emotionally, or mentally hurt, influenced, or attacked


The word vulnerable connotes this state of fragility that you need, if not saying that they have already been hurt.


There are many words in English which are close synonyms of break, but most of these have slightly different emphases. In this case I would suggest fractured, which although technically meaning the same as broken, has the implication that the fractured object has not yet fallen apart.

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