Webster 1913 Edition



, AS.
; akin to OS.
, OFies.
, D.
, OHG.
, G.
, Icel.
, Sw.
, Goth.
, Lith.
, Russ.
, Ir.
, L.
, Gr.
. √277. Cf.
, 4th
A hollow, muscular organ, which, by contracting rhythmically, keeps up the circulation of the blood.
Why does my blood thus muster to my
☞ In adult mammals and birds, the heart is four-chambered, the right auricle and ventricle being completely separated from the left auricle and ventricle; and the blood flows from the systemic veins to the right auricle, thence to the right ventricle, from which it is forced to the lungs, then returned to the left auricle, thence passes to the left ventricle, from which it is driven into the systemic arteries. See Illust. under
. In fishes there are but one auricle and one ventricle, the blood being pumped from the ventricle through the gills to the system, and thence returned to the auricle. In most amphibians and reptiles, the separation of the auricles is partial or complete, and in reptiles the ventricles also are separated more or less completely. The so-called lymph hearts, found in many amphibians, reptiles, and birds, are contractile sacs, which pump the lymph into the veins.
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;
as, a good, tender, loving, bad, hard, or selfish
are dust,
loves remain.
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;
as, the
of a country, of a tree, etc.
Exploits done in the
of France.
Peace subsisting at the

Of endless agitation.
Courage; courageous purpose; spirit.
Eve, recovering
, replied.
The expelled nations take
, and when they fly from one country invade another.
Sir W. Temple.
Vigorous and efficient activity; power of fertile production; condition of the soil, whether good or bad.
That the spent earth may gather
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.
One of the suits of playing cards, distinguished by the figure or figures of a heart;
are trumps
Vital part; secret meaning; real intention.
And then show you the
of my message.
A term of affectionate or kindly and familiar address.
“I speak to thee, my heart.”
is used in many compounds, the most of which need no special explanation; as,
-wringing, etc.
After one's own heart
conforming with one's inmost approval and desire;
as, a friend
after my own heart

The Lord hath sought him a man
after his own heart
1 Sam. xiii. 14.

At heart
in the inmost character or disposition; at bottom; really;
as, he is
at heart
a good man
By heart
in the closest or most thorough manner;
as, to know or learn
by heart
. “Composing songs, for fools to get by heart” (that is, to commit to memory, or to learn thoroughly).
to learn by heart
to memorize.
For my heart
for my life; if my life were at stake.
“I could not get him for my heart to do it.”
Heart bond
a bond in which no header stone stretches across the wall, but two headers meet in the middle, and their joint is covered by another stone laid header fashion.
Heart and hand
with enthusiastic coöperation.
Heart hardness
hardness of heart; callousness of feeling; moral insensibility.
Heart heaviness
depression of spirits.
Heart point
the fess point. See
Heart rising
a rising of the heart, as in opposition.
Heart shell
any marine, bivalve shell of the genus
and allied genera, having a heart-shaped shell; esp., the European
Isocardia cor
; – called also
heart cockle
Heart sickness
extreme depression of spirits.
Heart and soul
with the utmost earnestness.
Heart urchin
any heartshaped, spatangoid sea urchin. See
Heart wheel
a form of cam, shaped like a heart. See
In good heart
in good courage; in good hope.
Out of heart
Poor heart
an exclamation of pity.
To break the heart of
To bring to despair or hopeless grief; to cause to be utterly cast down by sorrow.
To bring almost to completion; to finish very nearly; – said of anything undertaken;
as, he has
broken the heart
of the task
To find in the heart
to be willing or disposed.
“I could find in my heart to ask your pardon.”
Sir P. Sidney.
To have at heart
to desire (anything) earnestly.
To have in the heart
to purpose; to design or intend to do.
To have the heart in the mouth
to be much frightened.
To lose heart
to become discouraged.
To lose one's heart
to fall in love.
To set the heart at rest
to put one's self at ease.
To set the heart upon
to fix the desires on; to long for earnestly; to be very fond of.
To take heart of grace
to take courage.
To take to heart
to grieve over.
To wear one's heart upon one's sleeve
to expose one's feelings or intentions; to be frank or impulsive.
With all one's heart
With one's whole heart
very earnestly; fully; completely; devotedly.


To give heart to; to hearten; to encourage; to inspirit.
My cause is
; thine hath no less reason.


To form a compact center or heart;
as, a

Webster 1828 Edition



[L. cor, cordis, and allied to Eng.core, or named from motion, pulsation.]
A muscular viscus, which is the primary organ of the blood's motion in an animal body, situated in the thorax. From this organ all the arteries arise, and in it all the veins terminate. By its alternate dilatation and contraction, the blood is received from the veins, and returned through the arteries, by which means the circulation is carried on and life preserved.
The inner part of any thing; the middle part or interior; as the heart of a country, kingdom or empire; the heart of a town; the heart of a tree.
The chief part; the vital part; the vigorous or efficacious part.
The seat of the affections and passions, as of love, joy, grief, enmity, courage, pleasure &c.
The heart is deceitful above all things. Every imagination of the thoughts of the heart is evil continually. We read of an honest and good heart, and an evil heart of unbelief, a willing heart, a heavy heart, sorrow of heart, a hard heart, a proud heart, a pure heart. The heart faints in adversity, or under discouragement, that is, courage fails; the heart is deceived, enlarged, reproved, lifted up, fixed, established, moved, &c.
By a metonymy, heart is used for an affection or passion, and particularly for love.
The king's heart was towards Absalom. 2 Sam. 14.
The seat of the understanding; as an understanding heart. We read of men wise in heart, and slow of heart.
The seat of the will; hence, secret purposes, intentions or designs. There are many devices in a man's heart. The heart of kings is unsearchable. The Lord tries and searches the heart. David had it in his heart to build a house of rest for the ark.
Sometimes heart is used for the will, or determined purpose.
The heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil. Eccles.8.
Person; character; used with respect to courage or kindess.
Cheerly, my hearts.
Courage; spirit; as, to take heart; to give heart; to recover heart.
10. Secret thoughts; recesses of the mind.
Michal saw king David leaping and dancing before the Lord, and she despised him in her heart. 2 Sam.6.
11. Disposition of mind.
He had a heart to do well.
12. Secret meaning; real intention.
And then show you the heart of my message.
13. Conscience, or sense of good or ill.
Every man's heart and conscience--doth either like or disallow it.
14. Strength; power of producing; vigor; fertility. Keep the land in heart.
That the spent earth may gather heart again.
15. The utmost degree.
This gay charm--hath beguiled me
To the very heart of loss.
To get or learn by heart, to commit to memory; to learn so perfectly as to be able to repeat without a copy.
To take to heart, to be much affected; also, to be zealous, ardent or solicitous about a thing; to have concern.
To lay to heart, is used nearly in the sense of the foregoing.
To set the heart on, to fix the desires on; to be very desirous of obtaining or keeping; to be very fond of.
To set the heart at rest, to make one's self quiet; to be tranquil or easy in mind.
To find in the heart, to be willing or disposed.
I find it in my heart to ask your pardon.
For my heart, for tenderness or affection.
I could not for my heart refuse his request.
Or, this phrase may signify, for my life; if my life was at stake.
I could not get him for my heart to do it.
To speak to one's heart,in Scripture, to speak kindly to; to comfort; to encourage.
To have in the heart, to purpose; to have design or intention.
A hard heart, cruelty; want of sensibility.

Definition 2024




Diagram of the human heart.
The Ace of Hearts.

Alternative forms


heart (countable and uncountable, plural hearts)

  1. (anatomy) A muscular organ that pumps blood through the body, traditionally thought to be the seat of emotion.
  2. (uncountable) Emotions, kindness, moral effort, or spirit in general.
    The team lost, but they showed a lot of heart.
    • 1852, Mrs M.A. Thompson, “The Tutor's Daughter”, in Graham's American Monthly Magazine of Literature, Art, and Fashion, page 266:
      In the lightness of my heart I sang catches of songs as my horse gayly bore me along the well-remembered road.
    • 2008, "Rights trampled in rush to deport immigrant workers," Quaker Action (magazine), vol. 89, no. 3, page 8:
      "We provided a lot of brains and a lot of heart to the response when it was needed," says Sandra Sanchez, director of AFSC's Immigrants' Voice Program in Des Moines.
    • 2011 September 2, “Wales 2-1 Montenegro”, in BBC:
      The result still leaves Wales bottom of the group but in better heart for Tuesday night's trip to face England at Wembley, who are now outright leaders after their 3-0 win in Bulgaria.
    • Here is my secret. It is very simple: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye. (Antoine de Saint Exupéry, The Little Prince, 1943)
  3. The seat of the affections or sensibilities, collectively or separately, as love, hate, joy, grief, courage, etc.; rarely, the seat of the understanding or will; usually in a good sense; personality.
    a good, tender, loving, bad, hard, or selfish heart
  4. Courage; courageous purpose; spirit.
    • 2016 September 28, Tom English, “Celtic 3–3 Manchester City”, in (Please provide the title of the work), BBC Sport:
      The heart from the home team was immense. Some of them were out on their feet before the end, but they dug in, throwing themselves in front of shots and crosses, surviving.
    • (Can we date this quote?) John Milton
      Eve, recovering heart, replied.
    • (Can we date this quote?) Sir W. Temple
      The expelled nations take heart, and when they fly from one country invade another.
  5. Vigorous and efficient activity; power of fertile production; condition of the soil, whether good or bad.
    • (Can we date this quote?) Dryden
      That the spent earth may gather heart again.
  6. (archaic) A term of affectionate or kindly and familiar address.
    • Listen, dear heart, we must go now.
    • (Can we date this quote?) Shakespeare
      I speak to thee, my heart.
  7. A conventional shape or symbol used to represent the heart, love, or emotion: or sometimes <3.
    • 1998, Pat Cadigan, Tea From an Empty Cup, page 106:
      "Aw. Thank you." The Cherub kissed the air between them and sent a small cluster of tiny red hearts at her.
  8. A playing card of the suit hearts featuring one or more heart-shaped symbols.
  9. The centre, essence, or core.
    The wood at the heart of a tree is the oldest.
    Buddhists believe that suffering is right at the heart of all life.
    • 2011 December 27, Mike Henson, “Norwich 0 - 2 Tottenham”, in BBC Sport:
      Norwich's attack centred on a front pair of Steve Morison and Grant Holt, but Younes Kaboul at the heart of the Tottenham defence dominated in the air.
    • 1899, Robert Barr, The Strong Arm, ch. 3:
      At last she spoke in a low voice, hesitating slightly, nevertheless going with incisive directness into the very heart of the problem.

Derived terms


Related terms



heart (third-person singular simple present hearts, present participle hearting, simple past and past participle hearted)

  1. (transitive, poetic or humorous) To be fond of. Often bracketed or abbreviated with a heart symbol.
    • 1905, Capt. James, William Wordsworth (editor), Poems and Extracts, page 81
      I heart to pray their bones may rest in peace
    • 2001 April 6, Michael Baldwin, "The Heart Has Its Reasons", Commonweal
      We're but the sum of all our terrors until we heart the dove.
    • 2006, Susan Reinhardt, Bulldog doesn't have to rely on the kindness of strangers to draw attention,
      I guess at this point we were supposed to feel elated she'd come to her senses and decided she hearts dogs after all.
    • 2008 January 30, "Cheese in our time: Blur and Oasis to end feud with a Stilton", The Guardian (London)
      The further we delve into this "story", the more convinced we become of one thing: We heart the Goss.
    • 2008 July 25, "The Media Hearts Obama?", On The Media, National Public Radio
  2. (transitive, obsolete) To give heart to; to hearten; to encourage.
    • Shakespeare
      My cause is hearted; thine hath no less reason.
  3. (transitive, masonry) To fill an interior with rubble, as a wall or a breakwater.
  4. (intransitive, agriculture, botany) To form a dense cluster of leaves, a heart, especially of lettuce or cabbage.



Most common English words before 1923: heard · night · mind · #203: heart · going · knew · seen