Heart Idioms for Valentine’s Day

A heart-shaped waffle in focus with a white kitchen wall and shelves in the background.

Happy Valentine’s Day, if you’re celebrating it! Or are you suffering from heartache and a broken heart? Maybe you’re stone-hearted, or your heart just isn’t in it.  Maybe you’re lucky enough to be spending it with someone who makes your heart skip a beat, or has a heart of gold. No matter your situation, know that I’m wishing you a happy Valentine’s Day from the bottom of my heart!

In no particular order, here are some of my other favorite heart-related expressions.

1. Sing/cry/dance/[verb] one’s heart out.

Simple enough: [verb] as much as you like! See also: “[verb] as much as your little heart desires” and “[verb] to your heart’s content.” For example: Suzie sang her heart out at karaoke last night. I’ve never seen her have so much fun!

2. “Eat your heart out.”

“Eat” is one of the few verbs that doesn’t quite fit in the “[verb] your heart out” pattern. It’s a way to boast or brag: “I got the lead role in the play, Jimmy. Eat your heart out!” John taunted his rival.

Generally speaking, we only use it to directly address and command someone.

3. Wear one’s heart on one’s sleeve.

Someone who is expressive and honest with their feelings (sometimes without intending to be), though they can also be a little too sensitive. I always know when Robin’s upset. She wears her heart on her sleeve.

4. Have a heart-to-heart.

To have a serious and important conversation with someone. Joe and Sam were angry at each other, but after a long heart-to-heart they became friendly again.

5. “My heart bleeds for you.”

Like “Eat your heart out,” this idiom is also a fixed expression in English. It’s usually a sarcastic way to tell someone that you don’t care, or that you think their problem is silly and trivial. Oh, you have to drive your Mercedes because your Jaguar is in the shop? My heart bleeds for you!

Sometimes people will use it to mean that they are genuinely upset or distraught over someone else’s situation, but there are a lot of other phrases in English to express condolences that aren’t used sarcastically, so it might be better to choose one of those instead.

6. A man/woman after one’s own heart.

To express that you approve of something that someone does, implying that you do (or would do) the same thing. You like spending Sundays in your pajamas and watching movies? A woman after my own heart!

7. Not have the heart to [verb]

When you really, really don’t want to do something, usually because it might upset someone else or because you’re upset about it. I don’t have the heart to tell Erica her cat ran away. Can you do it?

8. Find it in one’s heart to [verb]

To be emotionally/psychologically able to do something. Usually this is finished with the verb phrase “to forgive someone.” I’m sorry I lied to you. Can you find it in your heart to forgive me?

9. “Cross my heart . . . “

This is mostly used by children in its full length form: “Cross my heart and hope to die, stick a needle in my eye if I lie.” (And there are a bunch of variations on it, if you feel like Googling!) It’s a promise that the speaker isn’t lying. Once in a while you run into an adult who will just use “cross my heart” as a shorthand, similarly to “Swear to God!” I didn’t steal your wallet. Cross my heart!

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