involving great distress or anguish; agonizing: a gut-wrenching decision.
gut-wrenching, heartrending. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To gut-wrenching
World English Dictionary
informal causing great distress or suffering: gut-wrenching scenes

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
Cite This Source's 21st Century Lexicon
Main Entry:  gut-wrenching
Part of Speech:  adj
Definition:  extremely distressing or unpleasant; agonizing; having a powerful effect on one's feelings
Example:  She is about to make a gut-wrenching decision.'s 21st Century Lexicon
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Example sentences
Gut-wrenching change is always good business for consulting firms, and
  outsourcing is no exception.
Her testimony was gut-wrenching, graphic, heartbreaking and riveting.
No one should forget the difficult and gut-wrenching work accomplished by
  people at those fearful evidence recovery sites.
These effects were gut-wrenching in the enormity of trauma, especially for
  those located near ground zero.
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