10 English idioms close to our hearts

It has been a while since we took a look at some English idioms, so let’s get back into them by going to the heart of the topic, or rather, the topic of hearts!

The heart comes up a lot in English expressions so let's take a look at ten of our favourite examples!

1. From the bottom of my heart

You can use this when you are trying to say how sincerely and seriously you feel about something. As an example, if you are really grateful about something that someone has done for you, you can thank them from the bottom of your heart.

2. With all my heart

This is similar to something being from the bottom of your heart, but it means giving a task everything you have got. As an example, you can sing with all your heart. This idiom is very similar to an adjective you can use as you can do something “wholeheartedly”.

3. I have a soft spot in my heart for you

This can sometimes be shortened to simply having a soft spot for someone, but it means that you are fond of them in some way. This is not normally in a romantic way, but more as an indication that maybe you have some shared history or that they did something endearing to you at some point in the past.

It also normally means you will likely overlook some of that person’s more obvious flaws!

Heart fireworks

4. Pouring my heart out

To pour your heart out might sound quite unpleasant, but what it really means is that you open up emotionally by telling someone your story and how you really feel without holding anything back.

5. Wearing your heart on your sleeve

This is both a fashion mistake and an idiom. If you wear your heart on your sleeve, it means you are very open about how and what you feel. This might be an idiom that is particularly common in England, as we English are prone to being reserved and closed off about our feelings and keen to avoid wearing our hearts on our sleeves.

6. I don’t have the heart to do that

You can use this idiom if you’re asked to do something that you feel would be cruel, or doing anything that you feel might upset or offend someone.


7. To be young at heart

Heart in the sand

Being young at heart means you might act in a way that is thought of as a lot younger than your age. As an example, someone in their 50s who still occasionally acts like they’re in their 20s by going water-skiing could be described as young at heart.

This does not necessarily have to be actions but can simply be the way people feel, talk or even think.

8. Tugging at the heartstrings

If you are being made to feel sad or sympathetic towards someone, it might be that they are tugging at your heartstrings. This means that something is working to get you into that emotional state. This can also apply to films or music that are purposefully trying to make you feel this way.

9. Cross my heart and hope to die

An actual heart

If you make a promise to someone, you can then express how seriously you take that promise by saying that you cross your heart and hope to die. This is also something that you normally say if you’re about eight years old, so it might not be something you hear very often unless you work with children!

The follow up to “cross my heart and hope to die” is sometimes “stick a needle in my eye”. Childhood can be a dark place.

10. Find it in your heart

Someone might ask if you can find it in your heart. Unless you are attending a lecture at medical school, this is when someone is asking you to reconsider something or trying to persuade you to do something and change your mind about something.

They could indeed be pouring their heart out, begging you from the bottom of their heart to find it in your heart to change your mind. They might even be trying to tug at your heartstrings to get you to do this.

Incidentally, if you do change your mind, you can say that you've had a change of heart. You might find that you didn’t have the heart to do it anyway and this person will probably end up having a soft spot in their heart for you because of it.

I’ll stop there. I could easily end up writing this all day!


Is your favourite heart-based idiom not on this list? Why not drop us a comment or shout out on Twitter!

More English idioms

If you have had enough of heart idioms, why not check out some of our other idiom posts?

Animal idioms
Body idioms
Color idioms
Food idioms
Happiness idioms
Jump idioms
Love idioms
Money idioms
School idioms
Shhh! idioms
Time idioms
Weather idioms

And if you haven't had enough of heart idioms, here's a bonus: What about the heart idiom we used in the title of this post? If something is “close to your heart” it means that it’s special to you in some way!


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