Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Anatomy The chambered muscular organ in vertebrates that pumps blood received from the veins into the arteries, thereby maintaining the flow of blood through the entire circulatory system.
  • n. Anatomy A similarly functioning structure in invertebrates.
  • n. The area that is the approximate location of the heart in the body; the breast.
  • n. The vital center and source of one's being, emotions, and sensibilities.
  • n. The repository of one's deepest and sincerest feelings and beliefs: an appeal from the heart; a subject dear to her heart.
  • n. The seat of the intellect or imagination: the worst atrocities the human heart could devise.
  • n. Emotional constitution, basic disposition, or character: a man after my own heart.
  • n. One's prevailing mood or current inclination: We were light of heart.
  • n. Capacity for sympathy or generosity; compassion: a leader who seems to have no heart.
  • n. Love; affection: The child won my heart.
  • n. Courage; resolution; fortitude: The soldiers lost heart and retreated.
  • n. The firmness of will or the callousness required to carry out an unpleasant task or responsibility: hadn't the heart to send them away without food.
  • n. A person esteemed or admired as lovable, loyal, or courageous: a dear heart.
  • n. The central or innermost physical part of a place or region: the heart of the financial district. See Synonyms at center.
  • n. The core of a plant, fruit, or vegetable: hearts of palm.
  • n. The most important or essential part: get to the heart of the matter.
  • n. A conventional two-lobed representation of the heart, usually colored red or pink.
  • n. Games A red, heart-shaped figure on certain playing cards.
  • n. Games A playing card with this figure.
  • n. Games The suit of cards represented by this figure.
  • n. Games A card game in which the object is either to avoid hearts when taking tricks or to take all the hearts.
  • transitive v. Archaic To encourage; hearten.
  • idiom at heart In one's deepest feelings; fundamentally.
  • idiom by heart Learned by rote; memorized word for word.
  • idiom do (one's) heart good To lift one's spirits; make one happy.
  • idiom bottom With the deepest appreciation; most sincerely.
  • idiom have (one's) heart in (one's) mouth To be extremely frightened or anxious.
  • idiom have (one's) heart in the right place To be well-intentioned.
  • idiom heart and soul Completely; entirely.
  • idiom in (one's) heart of hearts In the seat of one's truest feelings.
  • idiom lose (one's) heart to To fall in love with.
  • idiom near Loved by or important to one.
  • idiom steal (someone's) heart To win one's affection or love.
  • idiom take to heart To take seriously and be affected or troubled by: Don't take my criticism to heart.
  • idiom to (one's) heart's content To one's entire satisfaction, without limitation.
  • idiom wear (one's) heart on (one's) sleeve To show one's feelings clearly and openly by one's behavior.
  • idiom with all (one's) heart With great willingness or pleasure.
  • idiom with all (one's) heart With the deepest feeling or devotion.
  • idiom with half a heart In a halfhearted manner.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A muscular organ that pumps blood through the body, traditionally thought to be the seat of emotion.
  • n. Emotions, kindness, moral effort, or spirit in general.
  • n. A conventional shape or symbol used to represent the heart, love, or emotion: ♥ or sometimes <3.
  • n. A playing card of the suit hearts featuring one or more heart-shaped symbols.
  • n. The centre, essence, or core.
  • v. To be fond of. Often bracketed or abbreviated with a heart symbol.
  • v. To encourage.
  • v. To fill an interior with rubble, as a wall or a breakwater.
  • v. To form a dense cluster of leaves, a heart, especially of lettuce or cabbage.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A hollow, muscular organ, which, by contracting rhythmically, keeps up the circulation of the blood.
  • n. The seat of the affections or sensibilities, collectively or separately, as love, hate, joy, grief, courage, and the like; rarely, the seat of the understanding or will; -- usually in a good sense, when no epithet is expressed; the better or lovelier part of our nature; the spring of all our actions and purposes; the seat of moral life and character; the moral affections and character itself; the individual disposition and character.
  • n. The nearest the middle or center; the part most hidden and within; the inmost or most essential part of any body or system; the source of life and motion in any organization; the chief or vital portion; the center of activity, or of energetic or efficient action
  • n. Courage; courageous purpose; spirit.
  • n. Vigorous and efficient activity; power of fertile production; condition of the soil, whether good or bad.
  • n. That which resembles a heart in shape; especially, a roundish or oval figure or object having an obtuse point at one end, and at the other a corresponding indentation, -- used as a symbol or representative of the heart.
  • n. One of the suits of playing cards, distinguished by the figure or figures of a heart.
  • n. Vital part; secret meaning; real intention.
  • n. A term of affectionate or kindly and familiar address.
  • intransitive v. To form a compact center or heart.
  • transitive v. To give heart to; to hearten; to encourage; to inspirit.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To give heart to; encourage; hearten.
  • In masonry, to build, as the interior of a rubble wall, solidly with stone and mortar.
  • To form a close, compact head, as a plant; especially, to have the central part of the head close and compact: as, some varieties of cabbage heart well.
  • n. The principal organ of the circulation of the blood in man and other animals; the physiological center of the blood-vascular system.
  • n. The human heart or breast considered as the seat of all or of some of the mental faculties; hence, in common figurative use, these faculties themselves.
  • n. The intellectual faculties; especially, inmost or most private thought; innermost opinions or convictions; genuine or intense desire or sentiment: as, she despised him in her heart; the heart of a man is unsearchable; the devices of the heart; to set one's heart upon something.
  • n. Good feeling; love; kindness; sensibility: as, she is all heart; he is all head and no heart; to gain one's heart; to give the heart to God.
  • n. Courage; spirit; determination; firmness of will; capacity for perseverance or endurance: as, to take heart; his heart failed him.
  • n. The breast, as covering the heart, considered as the seat of affection.
  • n. The inner part of anything; the middle or center: as, the heart of a country or a town.
  • n. The chief, vital, or most essential part; the vigorous or efficacious part; the core.
  • n. A person, especially a brave or affectionate person: used as a term of encouragement, praise, or endearment.
  • n. Strength; power of producing; vigor; fertility: as, to keep the land in heart.
  • n. Something that has the shape or form of a heart; especially, a roundish or an oval figure or object having an obtuse point at one end and a corresponding indentation or depression at the other, regarded as representing the figure of a heart; especially, such a figure on a playing-card.
  • n. One of a suit of playing-cards marked with such a figure.
  • n. plural A game of cards played with the full pack by four persons.
  • n. Nautical, a block of hard wood in the shape of a heart for the lanyards of stays to reeve through.
  • n. In botany, the core of a tree; the solid central part without sap or albumen. See heart-wood.
  • n. An excessive deposit of fat around the heart.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a plane figure with rounded sides curving inward at the top and intersecting at the bottom; conventionally used on playing cards and valentines
  • n. an area that is approximately central within some larger region
  • n. a firm rather dry variety meat (usually beef or veal)
  • n. the choicest or most essential or most vital part of some idea or experience
  • n. a playing card in the major suit that has one or more red hearts on it
  • n. the hollow muscular organ located behind the sternum and between the lungs; its rhythmic contractions move the blood through the body
  • n. a positive feeling of liking
  • n. the locus of feelings and intuitions
  • n. the courage to carry on
  • n. an inclination or tendency of a certain kind

Etymologies

Middle English hert, from Old English heorte.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English herte, from Old English heorte ("heart"), from Proto-Germanic *hertô (“heart”), from Proto-Indo-European *ḱḗr (“heart”). Cognate with Scots hart, hert ("heart"), West Frisian hert ("heart"), Dutch hart ("heart"), Low German Hart ("heart"), German Herz ("heart"), Swedish hjärta ("heart"), Icelandic hjarta ("heart"). The Indo-European root is also the source of Latin cor, cordis, Greek καρδιά (kardiá), Welsh craidd, Irish croí, Russian сердце (serdce), Lithuanian širdis and Albanian kërthiz ("navel, central spot"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Oh and the other day, we were sat in R. S [I have to sit right next to her * rolls eyes*] and she took this pink heart shaped piece of paper out of her organiser, it had I * heart* A. G written on it.

    fuct-up-girl Diary Entry

  • If you will put health into my flesh, joy into my heart, and life into my whole frame, be of _one heart_ and of _one soul_.

    Fletcher of Madeley

  • She had a generous heart, capable of great enterprises, and I do not doubt that she has left to you, her daughters, her _mind_ as well as her _heart_.

    Life of Venerable Sister Margaret Bourgeois

  • He answers with exact fidelity to these inward drawings, either by an elevation of his heart towards GOD, or by a meek and fond regard to Him, or by such words as love forms upon these occasions, as for instance, _My God, here I am all devoted to Thee_: LORD, _make me according to Thy heart_.

    The Practice of the Presence of God the Best Rule of a Holy Life

  • It is apparently a lurking disposition to induce men to discharge the duties of beneficence, without laying their hearts on the altar of God, and keeping them perpetually burning there; whereas Christ requires the _heart_, and the heart _always_; and then that conduct which inevitably bursts from a consecrated soul.

    The Faithful Steward Or, Systematic Beneficence an Essential of Christian Character

  • Ruskin, from whom we continue to quote, says: It never stops at crusts or ashes, or outward images of any kind, but ploughing them all aside, plunges at once into the very central fiery heart; its function and gift are the getting at the root; its nature and dignity depend on its holding things always _by the heart_.

    The Continental Monthly, Vol. 4, No. 4, October, 1863 Devoted to Literature and National Policy

  • _ _State of being heart with heart_; harmony; agreement.

    Orthography As Outlined in the State Course of Study for Illinois

  • Aye, He had a _world_ heart, He had _a human heart_.

    Quiet Talks on John's Gospel

  • _I_ drove those two people to despair, because I thought something was wrong that they thought right, I should never have any happiness in my heart -- my _own heart_ -- again.

    The Coryston Family A Novel

  • Palamon's appeal to his kinsman for a last word, "if his heart, _his worthy, manly heart_" (an exact and typical example of Fletcher's tragically prosaic and prosaically tragic dash of incurable commonplace),

    A Study of Shakespeare

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Comments

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  • The idiom, have (one's) heart in (one's) mouth = to be extremely frightened or anxious, is taken a step further by "his heart sank ...", which is an expression of acute dismay or terror, the degree of emotion being indicated by how far his heart sank: into his stomach, or into his boots.

    December 7, 2011

  • I opine: as tired and threadbare as this word may be for English users, it practices and professes too much power to be ignored as one of the crown jewels of the current language. That being said, I'd personally like to make less use of it.

    December 5, 2011

  • oneself, will, purpose, thought, opinion, intellect, center, the first cause

    July 22, 2009