Improving Your English

Idioms with heart: A collection of heart idioms (with examples)

Believe it or not, not all of these English heart idioms are about love. There are some heart-of-gold idioms, but some of them are quite serious, as you’ll soon find out.

In fact, if you need love-related idioms, we have a whole separate list of those that you can explore separately. And of course, if you need more help understanding what idioms are; worry no more!

heart idioms - red and pink hearts

Heart idioms

As serious as a heart attack

This list starts with one of the more serious heart idioms. You would use this expression when you wish to highlight that something is not at all funny and should be taken seriously.

“I really mean what I said. I’m as serious as a heart attack.”

In fact, as serious as a heart attack is such a well-known heart idiom that a poem has been written with the saying as its title.

You may also hear as funny as a heart attack, especially used as a reprimand when someone has made light of a serious situation.

Cross your heart (and hope to die)

You’ll mainly hear children use this saying. When you cross your heart (and hope to die), you are offering a firm promise.

“I’ll do my homework when I get back, cross my heart.”

Heart of gold

If you need to describe someone’s characteristics with an idiom, heart of gold is a lovely one to use. Someone with a heart of gold is kind and generous and has good intentions.

“The new teacher really has a heart of gold. She’s donating her time to make the show happen.”

Interestingly, this is an example of an idiom from Shakespeare’s works.

A person after my own heart

Not all of these heart idioms are about love. The saying a person after my own heart is actually saying that another person shares the same interests, likes or dislikes as you do.

“I love my new housemate. She’s a person after my own heart.”

A drunk mind speaks a sober heart

When you drink too much alcohol you get drunk. You may then find that you lose your inhibitions. This is why people may say things drunk that they wouldn’t normally say when sober.

So, people may jokingly tell you after a night out that a drunk mind speaks a sober heart if you said something you weren’t supposed to!

“I didn’t realise you felt that way, but I guess a drunk mind speaks a sober heart.”

Another version of this saying would be that drunk words are sober thoughts – but what do you think?

A heart the size of Texas

Texas is a big state in the USA, and it is said that everything is big in Texas: the cars, food portions and buildings. So someone with a heart the size of Texas simply has a big heart and is a warm, kind, caring person.

“My nurse has a heart the size of Texas and I’m so grateful.”

You may also hear people say a heart as big as Texas, which means the same thing.

Absence makes the heart grow fonder

This is perhaps more of a proverb than a heart idiom, but it’s still worth mentioning here.

Absence makes the heart grow fonder is a life lesson that tells you that sometimes you feel more love towards someone when they are not with you. You feel more affection after a period of time away from them.

“I know long-distance relationships can be hard work, but remember that absence makes the heart grow fonder.”

You can find some more relationship idioms here.

Bless your heart

Bless your heart is a lovely way of showing fondness or affection for someone. It could also be used to show sympathy, but more often is a sign of love.

“She worked so hard for the talent show, bless her heart, I’m glad she came second.”

Warm the cockles of your heart

The very old-fashioned expression, to warm the cockles of your heart, refers to something that makes you feel happy, warm and content. It’s normally someone or something else that has made you feel this way.

“Seeing my grandchildren play like this warms the cockles of my heart.”

Know it by heart

This saying is normally associated with education or learning. This is because when you know something by heart you know it very well, or have even memorized it.

“I know this song by heart.”

You may also hear people say they know something off by heart, meaning the same thing.

idioms with heart - a person in darkness holding a neon red heart light

More idioms with heart

My heart bleeds for (someone)

Watch out, as this is an example of a sarcastic heart idiom. When you need to express mock sympathy in a humorous phrase, use the saying my heart bleeds for you.

“Oh you’re not sure which car to take to the party? My heart bleeds for you!”

Even though it may sound like you are expressing sympathy, this phrase is said in such a way that it’s clear you don’t really feel sorry for the person at all.

Not for the faint-hearted

Not all idioms with hearts are about love and romance. In fact, the phrase not for the faint-hearted is a warning. It is saying that something is scary or daunting in some way.

“All I can say is, that new movie isn’t for the faint-hearted!”

You may also hear it changed to not for the faint of heart, but it still means the same thing.

Have your heart set on something

People who have their heart set on something will be really disappointed if they don’t get it. The item in question may be an experience, an item, or a job they wanted very much.

“I have my heart set on the house we saw yesterday, so let’s see what happens.”
“Dean has his heart set on this new phone for his birthday.”

(One’s) heart is in the right place

When someone’s heart is in the right place, they have good intentions. Although you may disagree with some things they do, you know that they mean well.

“I mean, it wasn’t quite what we hoped for, but her heart was in the right place.”

Die of a broken heart

First things first: to say you have a broken heart means that you are devastated after the end of a relationship, or perhaps the death of a loved one. You feel extremely sad. So, one meaning of this expression is that you feel so sad you feel like you may die from grief.

“My grandma died about a month after my grandfather. I think she died of a broken heart.”

The other meaning is actually a medical condition called ‘broken heart syndrome’. It is possible to die of a broken heart due to the extreme surge of stress hormones that occur during a time of high emotion.

There are many other sadness idioms you might want to learn, too.

Pour your heart out

Lots of these heart idioms are full of emotion. When you pour your heart out, you are sharing and discussing your innermost feelings, thoughts, and worries with someone.

“I poured my heart out to my Mum yesterday and I feel much better for it now.”

The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach

People may consider this to be one of the more dated idioms with heart in it. To say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach is suggesting that the best way to win the love and affection of a man is to cook him a good meal.

“Have you tried cooking him a meal to impress him? The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, after all!”

To put your heart into it

People who put their heart into something give their sincere efforts and try their best. This is a good example of an idiom about working hard.

“I was so pround of Derick as he really put his heart into that performance.”

Young at heart

It’s lovely when people consider themselves or others young at heart. This phrase describes people who act or think like they are much younger than they really are.

“Even though that guy at the running club is over 70, he’s still very much young at heart.”

Have your heart in your mouth

This heart idiom will come in handy when you’re feeling nervous, scared or excited. Idioms about body parts can’t always be taken literally, and this is no exception! To say your heart is in your mouth just means that your heart is beating very fast with one of these emotions.

“That rollercoster was amazing. My heart was in my mouth the whole time.”

Wear your heart on your sleeve

Some may say this is a good thing and others may say it’s bad. People who wear their hearts on their sleeves don’t hide their emotions. They make their feelings known in an open and honest way.

“I know you’re upset, but try not to wear your heart on your sleeve so much.”

Did you realize there were so many heart idioms in English? Lots are about love, but others express different emotions or are about something else entirely. If you hear any others that don’t make sense to you, leave us a comment and let us know.

Do you want to be more confident using English? Why not try Grammarly's free proofreading tool. It checks as you write and helps you correct and improve your spelling and grammar.

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