- [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.]
- 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.]
- 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.]
- 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.]
- 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.]
- 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.
- One of the suits of playing cards, distinguished by the figure or figures of a heart; as, hearts are trumps.
- Vital part; secret meaning; real intention."And then show you the heart of my message." [Shak.]
- A term of affectionate or kindly and familiar address."I speak to thee, my heart." [Shak.]
Note: ☞ 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 systemic 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 systemic 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.
Note: ☞ 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-sore, heart-stirring, heart-touching, heart-wearing, heart-whole, heart-wounding, heart-wringing, etc.
Etymology: OE. harte herte heorte, AS. heorte; akin to OS. herta, OFies. hirte, D. hart, OHG. herza, G. herz, Icel. hjarta, Sw. hjerta, Goth. haírtō, Lith. szirdis, Russ. serdtse, Ir. cridhe, L. cor, Gr. kardi`a kh^r. √277. Cf. Accord Discord Cordial, 4th Core Courage