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heart Meaning, Definition & Usage

  1. noun the locus of feelings and intuitions
    • in your heart you know it is true
    • her story would melt your bosom
  2. noun the hollow muscular organ located behind the sternum and between the lungs; its rhythmic contractions move the blood through the body
    pump; ticker.
    • he stood still, his heart thumping wildly
  3. noun the courage to carry on
    spunk; mettle; nerve.
    • he kept fighting on pure spunk
    • you haven't got the heart for baseball
  4. noun an area that is approximately central within some larger region
    middle; eye; center; centre.
    • it is in the center of town
    • they ran forward into the heart of the struggle
    • they were in the eye of the storm
  5. noun the choicest or most essential or most vital part of some idea or experience
    kernel; substance; center; centre; nitty-gritty; essence; sum; meat; pith; nub; heart and soul; core; inwardness; marrow; gist.
    • the gist of the prosecutor's argument
    • the heart and soul of the Republican Party
    • the nub of the story
  6. noun an inclination or tendency of a certain kind
    • he had a change of heart
  7. noun a plane figure with rounded sides curving inward at the top and intersecting at the bottom; conventionally used on playing cards and valentines
    • he drew a heart and called it a valentine
  8. noun a firm rather dry variety meat (usually beef or veal)
    • a five-pound beef heart will serve six
  9. noun a positive feeling of liking
    warmness; philia; warmheartedness; tenderness; affection; affectionateness; fondness.
    • he had trouble expressing the affection he felt
    • the child won everyone's heart
    • the warmness of his welcome made us feel right at home
  10. noun a playing card in the major suit that has one or more red hearts on it
    • he led the queen of hearts
    • hearts were trumps

Heart noun
OE. harte, herte, heorte, AS. heorte; akin to OS. herta, OFies. hirte, D. hart, OHG. herza, G. herz, Icel. hjarta, Sw. hjerta, Goth. haírt, Lith. szirdis, Russ. serdtse, Ir. cridhe, L. cor, Gr. , . Cf. Accord, Discord, Cordial, 4th Core, Courage.
  1. (Anat.) A hollow, muscular organ, which, by contracting rhythmically, keeps up the circulation of the blood.
    Why does my blood thus muster to my heart! Shak.
    ✍ 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 systematic 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 systematic arteries. See Illust. under Aorta. 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.
  2. 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 heart.
    Hearts are dust, hearts' loves remain. Emerson.
  3. 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 heart of a country, of a tree, etc.
    Exploits done in the heart of France. Shak.
    Peace subsisting at the heart Of endless agitation. Wordsworth.
  4. Courage; courageous purpose; spirit.
    Eve, recovering heart, replied. Milton.
    The expelled nations take heart, and when they fly from one country invade another. Sir W. Temple.
  5. Vigorous and efficient activity; power of fertile production; condition of the soil, whether good or bad.
    That the spent earth may gather heart again. Dryden.
  6. 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.
  7. One of a series of playing cards, distinguished by the figure or figures of a heart; as, hearts are trumps.
  8. Vital part; secret meaning; real intention.
    And then show you the heart of my message. Shak.
  9. A term of affectionate or kindly and familiar address. "I speak to thee, my heart." Shak. Heart is used in many compounds, the most of which need no special explanation; as, heart-appalling, heart-breaking, heart-cheering, heart-chilled, heart-expanding, heart-free, heart-hardened, heart-heavy, heart-purifying, heart-searching, heart-sickening, heart-sinking, heart-stirring, heart-touching, heart-wearing, heart-whole, heart-wounding, heart-wringing, etc.
Heart transitive verb
  1. To give heart to; to hearten; to encourage; to inspirit. Obs.
    My cause is hearted; thine hath no less reason. Shak.
Heart intransitive verb
  1. To form a compact center or heart; as, a hearting cabbage.

Webster 1913