Definition for HEART

HEART, n. [h'art; Sax. heort; G. herz; D. hart; Sw. hierta; Dan. hierte; Gr. καρδια; Sans. herda. I know not the primary sense, nor whether it is from the root of κεαρ, L. cor, cordis, and allied Eng. core, or named from motion, pulsation.]

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. The chief part; the vital part; the vigorous or efficacious part. Bacon.
  4. 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. Scripture.
  5. By a metonymy, heart is used for an affection or passion, and particularly for love. The king's heart was toward Absalom. 2 Sam. xiv.
  6. The seat of the understanding; as, an understanding heart. We read of men wise in heart, and slow of heart. Scripture.
  7. 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. Scripture. 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. viii.
  8. Person; character; used with respect to courage or kindness. Cheerly, my hearts. Shak.
  9. Courage; spirit; as, to take heart; to give heart; to recover heart. Spenser. Temple. Milton.
  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. vi.
  11. Disposition of mind. He had a heart to do well. Sidney.
  12. Secret meaning; real intention. And then show you the heart of my message. Shak.
  13. Conscience, or sense of good or ill. Every man's heart and conscience – doth either like or disallow it. Hooker.
  14. Strength; power of producing; vigor; fertility. Keep the land in heart. That the spent earth may gather heart again. Dryden.
  15. The utmost degree. This gay charm – hath beguiled me To the very heart of loss. Shak. 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. Sidney. 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. Shak. 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.

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