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10 Heart Idioms Explained to English as a Second Language Learners

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Wearing your heart on your sleeves? Learn the ten most common heart idioms that English as a Second Language learners should know.

Wearing your heart on your sleeves? Learn the ten most common heart idioms that English as a Second Language learners should know.

There are many English idioms or idiomatic expressions in the English language.

It is said that there are about 25,000 idioms in English.

Many of these idioms, unfortunately, sound and look strange to most students of English as a Second Language.

This is because many users of English as a Second Language often do not get the chance to speak in English outside of the classroom and learn about how idioms are used in conversational settings.

Native English speakers, on the other hand, engage in English communications daily, helping them learn and understand the figurative definitions of idioms and how they are used in speech.

Below is a list of ten common idioms that use the popular word heart.

Because they use the word heart, these idioms refer to feelings or matters of the heart.

1. Cross One’s Heart and Hope to Die

An idiom that many children would say is cross one’s heart and hope to die. A person who says this idiom is promising that what he or she is saying is true.


You promise to be my friend? Cross your heart and hope to die?

2. From the Bottom of One’s Heart

An idiom that stands for sincerity is from the bottom of one’s heart. If words do come from the bottom of one’s heart, then those words are said to be pure.


You saved my life! I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

3. Tug at Someone’s Heartstrings

When an action does tug at someone’s heartstrings, then that action can make a person feel either sympathetic or sad.


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The sight of the couple hold hands while walking just tugged at my heartstrings.

4. Have a Soft Spot in One’s Heart for Someone

The idiom have a soft spot in one’s heart for someone stands for having fondness or affection for a person.


She has a soft spot in her heart for her prodigal son. She accepts him for all of his failings.

5. Pour One’s Heart Out to Someone

Pour one’s heart out to someone is an idiom that connotes telling one’s true feelings to another person. These feelings might be a person’s fears, hope, or regrets.


She poured her heart out to us. She’s going through a lot right now.

6. Heartbeat Away From Something

When someone is a heartbeat away from something then that person is an heir to a coveted position or a successor of somebody important.


Marga is a heartbeat away from becoming the next CEO. She is the leading candidate for the position.

7. Wear Someone’s Heart on One’s Sleeve

To wear someone’s heart on one’s sleeve means to show one’s feelings openly.


He wore his heart on his sleeves and talked lengthily about his failed marriage.

8. Young at Heart

A person who is advanced in age yet still enjoys doing things that young people do is said to be young at heart.


Old Elmer is young at heart and loves walking in the beach and chatting with his friends at the bar.

9. Not Have the Heart to Do Something

Somebody does not have the heart to do something when he or she is afraid or unwilling to say something that might hurt or offend another person.


Wilma does not have the heart to tell her mother that she’s terminally ill.

10. With All One’s Heart and Soul

A person gives something with all one’s heart and soul when he or she does something with enthusiasm, energy, and much effort.


Dolly sang with all her heart and soul and won a major singing contest in her state.

Heart Idioms

© 2011 kerlynb


Asiya on January 05, 2020:

Very helpful to my home work

lea on November 07, 2018:

helped with my homework

faturoti olasunkanmi daniel on February 25, 2012:

Idiomatic expression can simply be put, as an expression epressed by humanbeing,which after expressed you cannot derive the meaning denotatively,but a connotatively meaning.

htodd from United States on November 27, 2011:

Thanks for these idioms..This is really nice

kerlynb (author) from Philippines, Southeast Asia, Earth ^_^ on November 04, 2011:

@Hubertsvoice Thank you! Always a pleasure to read your comments :)

Hubertsvoice on November 04, 2011:

up and very interesting. Well done. Wilma does not have the heart to tell her mother that she’s terminally ill Wilma is my mother's name, and she had to face that situation.

kerlynb (author) from Philippines, Southeast Asia, Earth ^_^ on November 03, 2011:

@asmaiftikhar You're very kind. Thanks for such warm compliments :) Makes me want to write some more.

asmaiftikhar from Pakistan on November 03, 2011:

Dearest kar you take the heart of English language students.That is Informative,useful,interesting,unique,awesome,beautiful hub.vooooooooted up! dear now and forever.thanks a lot.

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