Pronunciation: (härt), [key]
1. Anat.a hollow, pumplike organ of blood circulation, composed mainly of rhythmically contractile smooth muscle, located in the chest between the lungs and slightly to the left and consisting of four chambers: a right atrium that receives blood returning from the body via the superior and inferior vena cavae, a right ventricle that pumps the blood through the pulmonary artery to the lungs for oxygenation, a left atrium that receives the oxygenated blood via the pulmonary veins and passes it through the mitral valve, and a left ventricle that pumps the oxygenated blood, via the aorta, throughout the body.
a. the homologous structure in other vertebrates, consisting of four chambers in mammals and birds and three chambers in reptiles and amphibians.
b. the analogous contractile structure in invertebrate animals, as the tubular heart of the spider and earthworm.
3. the center of the total personality, esp. with reference to intuition, feeling, or emotion: In your heart you know I'm an honest man.
4. the center of emotion, esp. as contrasted to the head as the center of the intellect: His head told him not to fall in love, but his heart had the final say.
5. capacity for sympathy; feeling; affection: His heart moved him to help the needy.
6. spirit, courage, or enthusiasm: His heart sank when he walked into the room and saw their gloomy faces.
7. the innermost or central part of anything: Notre Dame stands in the very heart of Paris.
8. the vital or essential part; core: the heart of the matter.
9. the breast or bosom: to clasp a person to one's heart.
10. a person (used esp. in expressions of praise or affection): dear heart.
11. a conventional shape with rounded sides meeting in a point at the bottom and curving inward to a cusp at the top.
12. a red figure or pip of this shape on a playing card.
13. a card of the suit bearing such figures.
a. (used with a sing. or pl. v.) the suit so marked: Hearts is trump. Hearts are trump.
b. (used with a sing. v.) a game in which the players try to avoid taking tricks containing this suit.
15. Bot.the core of a tree; the solid central part without sap or albumen.
16. good condition for production, growth, etc., as of land or crops.
17. Also called core. Ropemaking.a strand running through the center of a rope, the other strands being laid around it.
18. after one's own heart, in keeping with one's taste or preference: There's a man after my own heart!
19. at heart, in reality; fundamentally; basically: At heart she is a romantic.
20. break someone's heart, to cause someone great disappointment or sorrow, as to disappoint in love: The news that their son had been arrested broke their hearts.
21. by heart, by memory; word-for-word: They knew the song by heart.
22. cross one's heart, to maintain the truth of one's statement; affirm one's integrity: That's exactly what they told me, I cross my heart!
23. do someone's heart good, to give happiness or pleasure to; delight: It does my heart good to see you again.
24. eat one's heart out, to have sorrow or longing dominate one's emotions; grieve inconsolably: The children are eating their hearts out over their lost dog.
25. from the bottom of one's heart, with complete sincerity. Also,from one's heart,from the heart.
26. have a heart, to be compassionate or merciful: Please have a heart and give her another chance.
27. have at heart, to have as an object, aim, or desire: to have another's best interests at heart.
28. have one's heart in one's mouth, to be very anxious or fearful: He wanted to do the courageous thing, but his heart was in his mouth.
29. have one's heart in the right place, to be fundamentally kind, generous, or well-intentioned: The old gentleman may have a stern manner, but his heart is in the right place.
30. heart and soul, enthusiastically; fervently; completely: They entered heart and soul into the spirit of the holiday.
31. in one's heart of hearts, in one's private thoughts or feelings; deep within one: He knew, in his heart of hearts, that the news would be bad.
32. lose one's heart to, to fall in love with: He lost his heart to the prima ballerina.
33. near one's heart, of great interest or concern to one: It is a cause that is very near his heart. Also,close to one's heart.
34. not have the heart, to lack the necessary courage or callousness to do something: No one had the heart to tell him he was through as an actor.
35. set one's heart against, to be unalterably opposed to: She had set her heart against selling the statue. Also,have one's heart set against.
36. set one's heart at rest, to dismiss one's anxieties: She couldn't set her heart at rest until she knew he had returned safely.
37. set one's heart on, to wish for intensely; determine on: She has set her heart on going to Europe after graduation. Also,have one's heart set on.
38. take heart, to regain one's courage; become heartened: Her son's death was a great blow, but she eventually took heart, convinced that God had willed it.
39. take or lay to heart,
a. to think seriously about; concern oneself with: He took to heart his father's advice.
b. to be deeply affected by; grieve over: She was prone to take criticism too much to heart.
40. to one's heart's content, until one is satisfied; as much or as long as one wishes: The children played in the snow to their heart's content.
41. wear one's heart on one's sleeve,
a. to make one's intimate feelings or personal affairs known to all: She was not the kind who would wear her heart on her sleeve.
b. to be liable to fall in love; fall in love easily: How lovely to be young and wear our hearts on our sleeves!
42. with all one's heart,
a. with earnestness or zeal.
b. with willingness; cordially: She welcomed the visitors with all her heart.
a. to fix in the heart.
b. to encourage.
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.