from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun 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.
  • noun A similarly functioning structure in invertebrates.
  • noun The area that is the approximate location of the heart in the body; the breast.
  • noun The vital center and source of one's being, emotions, and sensibilities.
  • noun The repository of one's deepest and sincerest feelings and beliefs.
  • noun The seat of the intellect or imagination.
  • noun Emotional constitution, basic disposition, or character.
  • noun One's prevailing mood or current inclination.
  • noun Capacity for sympathy or generosity; compassion.
  • noun Love; affection.
  • noun Courage; resolution; fortitude.
  • noun The firmness of will or the callousness required to carry out an unpleasant task or responsibility.
  • noun A person esteemed or admired as lovable, loyal, or courageous.
  • noun The central or innermost physical part of a place or region.
  • noun The core of a plant, fruit, or vegetable, such as a heart of palm.
  • noun The most important or essential part.
  • noun A conventional two-lobed representation of the heart, usually colored red or pink.
  • noun A red, heart-shaped figure on certain playing cards.
  • noun A playing card with this figure.
  • noun The suit of cards represented by this figure.
  • noun A card game in which the object is either to avoid hearts when taking tricks or to take all the hearts.
  • transitive verb Slang To have great liking or affection for.
  • transitive verb 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/depths) 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/close to) 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.
  • 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 The Century Dictionary.

  • noun The principal organ of the circulation of the blood in man and other animals; the physiological center of the blood-vascular system.
  • noun 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.
  • noun 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.


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

[Middle English hert, from Old English heorte; see kerd- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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").


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  • 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 fuct-up-girl 2004

  • 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 Brigadier Margaret Allen

  • 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 of the Resurrection Lawrence

  • 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 Sereno D. Clark

  • 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 Various

  • 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 Anonymous

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

    Orthography As Outlined in the State Course of Study for Illinois Elmer W. Cavins

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

    Quiet Talks on John's Gospel 1897

  • _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 Humphry Ward 1885

  • 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 Algernon Charles Swinburne 1873


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

    July 22, 2009

  • 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

  • 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