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Heart Idioms | 55+ Important Idioms about Heart for ESL Students

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The heart: a vital organ, a symbol of love, and the centerpiece of countless idioms that pepper the English language. It beats, it breaks, it races, and it sings. But beyond its literal life-sustaining function, the heart has found its way into our everyday vernacular in ways that are both curious and captivating.

In this article, we’ll delve into the pulsating world of heart idioms, exploring their meanings, and the rich tapestry they weave through the fabric of our communication.

Idioms Related to Heart

heart idioms

Heart Idioms With Meanings and Examples

A big heart

  • Meaning: Said of someone kind and loving
  • Example: Despite her own struggles, Emily always has time to help others; she truly has a big heart.

After my own heart

  • Meaning: Said of someone with similar preferences or values
  • Example: John always donates to animal shelters and adopts rescue pets; he’s truly a man after my own heart.

A heart of stone

  • Meaning: Said of someone without sympathy
  • Example: Despite the tearful pleas of the townspeople, the mayor remained unmoved, as if he had a heart of stone.

Bare (one’s) heart

  • Meaning: Share one’s feelings or thoughts
  • Example: After months of hesitation, she finally decided to bare her heart to her best friend, confessing her true feelings and fears.

Bleeding heart

  • Meaning: Said of someone who is conspicuously or excessively generous
  • Example: Despite the criticism, she remained a bleeding heart, always the first to volunteer at the shelter and give to those in need.

Break (one’s) heart

  • Meaning: Cause someone emotional distress
  • Example: Hearing the news of his old dog’s passing truly broke his heart.

By heart

  • Meaning: It means to learn or memorize something so well.
  • Example: She knew all of Shakespeare’s sonnets by heart and could recite them on demand.

Capture/steal/win (one’s) heart

  • Meaning: Make someone fall in love with one
  • Example: The moment he walked into the room with his warm smile, he captured her heart.

Close/dear/near to (one’s) heart

  • Meaning: Loved or valued by someone
  • Example: Volunteering at the animal shelter is a cause that is close to her heart.

Cross my heart

  • Meaning: Said as an oath to assert one’s honesty
  • Example: I didn’t take your favorite book—cross my heart!

Didn’t have the heart

  • Meaning: Said when one cannot summon the will to do something hurtful
  • Example: She didn’t have the heart to tell him that his pet had run away while he was on vacation.

Do (one’s) heart good

  • Meaning: Said about something that will be beneficial to someone
  • Example: Seeing the community come together to support the local food drive did my heart good.

Eat your heart out

  • Meaning: Said mockingly to someone expressing the desire for them to suffer; usually facetious
  • Example: Just scored the winning goal in the final seconds of the game—eat your heart out, rivals!

Faint of heart

  • Meaning: Describe someone who is not very brave or someone who is easily scared or discouraged.
  • Example: The horror movie was definitely not for the faint of heart, with its unexpected jump scares and intense scenes.

Find a way into/to (one’s) heart

  • Meaning: Cause someone to fall in love with one
  • Example: He knew that volunteering for the project and working hard would find a way into his boss’s heart.

Find it in (one’s) heart

  • Meaning: Have the compassion or courage to do something
  • Example: I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me for missing your birthday party.

Follow (one’s) heart

  • Meaning: Do what one loves rather than what is expected of one
  • Example: Despite everyone’s advice to take the high-paying job, she decided to follow her heart and pursue a career in the arts, which was her true passion.

From the heart

  • Meaning: With sincerity
  • Example: His apology seemed to be from the heart, so I decided to give him another chance.

Gladden the/(one’s) heart

  • Meaning: Make someone happy or gratified
  • Example: The news of her friend’s safe arrival gladdened her heart after days of worry.

Harden (one’s) heart

  • Meaning: Make oneself emotionally strong enough to not be affected by or to not give in to feelings of sympathy, compassion, or sentimentality.
  • Example: Despite the beggar’s pleas, the wealthy man hardened his heart and walked away without offering any help.

Have (one’s) heart set on

  • Meaning: To be firmly or very determined to obtain or achieve something that one desires deeply.
  • Example: She had her heart set on attending the prestigious university and worked tirelessly to meet the admission requirements.

Have (one’s) (best) interests at heart

  • Meaning: Be doing something for someone else’s benefit
  • Example: Even though it was hard to hear, I knew my mentor had my best interests at heart when she gave me constructive criticism on my project.

Heart goes out to

  • Meaning: Said in regard to feeling sympathy for someone
  • Example: My heart goes out to all the families affected by the devastating earthquake.

Heart in (one’s) mouth

  • Meaning: Said of someone who has strong emotions about someone or something
  • Example: As the roller coaster reached the peak and paused for a moment before the steep drop, she felt her heart in her mouth.

Heart is in the right place

  • Meaning: Said of someone well-intentioned
  • Example: Even though he accidentally donated her favorite dress to the thrift store, I know his heart is in the right place; he just wanted to help with the spring cleaning.

Heart of the matter

  • Meaning: Essence
  • Example: We discussed many aspects of the problem, but the heart of the matter is that we need to improve our communication to work more effectively as a team.

Hearts and minds

  • Meaning: Said in reference to persuading rather than compelling
  • Example: The new mayor focused on policies that would win the hearts and minds of the citizens, ensuring their trust and cooperation for the city’s development plans.

Heart’s desire

  • Meaning: What one wishes deeply for
  • Example: After years of hard work and saving, they finally bought the beach house they had longed for, their heart’s desire.

Heart skips a beat

  • Meaning: Said of someone excited, frightened, or surprised
  • Example: Her heart skipped a beat when she turned the corner and unexpectedly ran into her childhood sweetheart.

Heavy heart

  • Meaning: Sadness
  • Example: With a heavy heart, she packed up her desk after being laid off from the job she had loved for so many years.

From the bottom/depths of (one’s) heart

  • Meaning: Profoundly
  • Example: I thank you from the bottom of my heart for all the support you’ve given me during this difficult time.

In (one’s) heart of hearts

  • Meaning: The most inner, true, and private feelings or beliefs that a person holds.
  • Example: Even though he didn’t show it, in his heart of hearts, he was devastated by the news.

Know (one’s) heart

  • Meaning: Be aware of one’s true feelings
  • Example: She knew her heart was leading her towards a career in helping others, despite the more lucrative options available to her.

Lose heart

  • Meaning: Become discouraged
  • Example: After several failed attempts to pass the driving test, he began to lose heart and wondered if he would ever get his license.

Matters/affairs of the heart

  • Meaning: Said of something pertaining to a love affair
  • Example: Despite his success in business, he found matters of the heart much more challenging to navigate.

Melt (one’s) heart

  • Meaning: Cause someone to experience uncontrollable emotions
  • Example: The way the little girl hugged her new puppy melted her mother’s heart.

Nearly gave (one) a heart attack

  • Meaning: Caused someone to feel anxiety or fear
  • Example: When the car swerved in front of me without warning, it nearly gave me a heart attack.

(One’s) heart bleeds for

  • Meaning: One is sympathetic
  • Example: Her heart bleeds for the children who have been affected by the war and are in desperate need of aid.

(One’s) heart is knocking

  • Meaning: Said of someone excited or nervous
  • Example: Every time he heard her voice, it was as if his heart was knocking, trying to escape his chest with excitement and love.

(One’s) heart is not in

  • Meaning: One does not feel a commitment to or an interest in
  • Example: She tried to continue her piano lessons, but her heart was not in it after she discovered her love for painting.

(One’s) heart leaps

  • Meaning: Describes a sudden burst of joy, excitement, or happiness.
  • Example: Her heart leaped when she saw her friend return safely from the long journey.

(One’s) heart melts

  • Meaning: A strong sense of affection, tenderness, or compassion, often in response to something endearing or touching.
  • Example: Every time the baby giggled, her heart melted with love and joy.

(One’s) heart sinks

  • Meaning: One becomes discouraged
  • Example: Her heart sank when she read the rejection letter from her first-choice university.

Open (one’s) heart

  • Meaning: Show generosity or kindness
  • Example: He decided to open his heart to his friend, revealing his hopes and fears about the future.

Out of the goodness/kindness of (one’s) heart

  • Meaning: Do something motivated by genuine compassion or altruism, without expecting anything in return.
  • Example: She offered to babysit her neighbor’s children for free out of the kindness of her heart, knowing the family was going through a tough time.

Put (one’s) heart into

  • Meaning: Do something with conviction or enthusiasm
  • Example: He put his heart into the project, working late nights and weekends to ensure its success.

Sick at heart

  • Meaning: A feeling of deep sorrow, distress, or disappointment.
  • Example: After hearing the tragic news, she felt sick at heart and struggled to come to terms with the reality of the situation.

Strike fear into (one’s) heart/into the heart of (one)

  • Meaning: Cause someone to be afraid
  • Example: The sudden, eerie howling of wolves in the night struck fear into the hearts of the campers.

Take heart

  • Meaning:  To gain courage or confidence in a difficult situation or when facing adversity.
  • Example: Even though the initial results were not promising, the research team took heart from the small improvements they observed as the experiment progressed.

Take (something) to heart

  • Meaning: Be affected by something
  • Example: She took the feedback to heart and worked diligently to improve her performance for the next presentation.

To (one’s) heart’s content

  • Meaning: To do something as much as one wishes, to the point of complete satisfaction.
  • Example: He had always wanted to visit the candy store, and once inside, he sampled sweets to his heart’s content.

Warm (one’s)/the cockles of (one’s) heart

  • Meaning: Cause someone to feel positive emotion
  • Example: Seeing the community come together to help those in need warmed the cockles of her heart.

Wear (one’s) heart on (one’s) sleeve

  • Meaning: Openly show one’s emotions
  • Example: John wears his heart on his sleeve, so you always know when he’s upset or overjoyed.

With a sinking heart

  • Meaning: Said of someone who becomes discouraged or hopeless
  • Example: With a sinking heart, she read the cancellation notice of the flight she had been looking forward to for months.

With all (one’s) heart

  • Meaning: With great enthusiasm
  • Example: He loved her with all his heart and was determined to make their relationship work.

Young at heart

  • Meaning: Youthful
  • Example: Even at the age of eighty, Grandma was still young at heart, always ready for a new adventure.

Idioms Related to Heart | Infographic 

heart idioms

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Tuesday 12th of April 2022

What's the topic on which I have to discuss ?


Friday 2nd of October 2020

this is vey helpful,for I have a test next week