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From the heart

From the heart

A lighthearted look at some popular heart-related sayings.

WEAR YOUR HEART ON YOUR SLEEVE

To wear your heart on your sleeve is to display one’s emotions openly. Ergo, displaying emotions is considered as distasteful as a beating heart dangling from your cufflinks. Alternatively, this idiom may be derived from medieval times when knights would wear the colours of the lady they fought for in ribbons on their sleeves. As any Game of Thrones fan knows, option two can lead to option one. Our advice? Wear a t-shirt.

HEART IN THE RIGHT PLACE

Unless somebody is seriously ill, just about everyone’s heart is in the right place. It’s in your chest, practically every single time. Outwardly, this saying means that, while someone may do things you don’t approve of, they really aren’t a “bad” person. Its real use, however, is basically to say, in the nicest way possible, that while someone is extremely annoying they’re generally harmless.

A BLEEDING HEART

Sounds just like a dangerous medical condition, but the term refers to a person who is excessively sympathetic to the plight of a person or group of people. The origin may be the medieval and religious “Order of the Bleeding Heart”. You might think this is quite a nice thing to be. Unfortunately, if somebody calls you a bleeding heart, take it from us, they generally don’t mean it as a compliment.

ABSENCE MAKES THE HEART GROW FONDER

Different versions of this saying are thought to have been around since Roman times, but the term first appears in a relatively modern day 1832 poem by literary nobody Miss Stickland who wrote, “Tis absence, however, that makes the heart grow fonder. ”Of course, this is not necessarily true. Sad fact: the heart can be as fond as you like, but if a different “organ” happens to develop other ideas you’re in trouble.

HOME IS WHERE THE HEART IS

They say home will always be the place for which we feel the deepest affection, no matter what. Often true but depends where home is, doesn’t it? Sometimes mistakenly thought to be derivative of an Irish saying, “Home is where the hearth is,” the term was actually coined by Roman naturalist Pliny the Elder who lived between 23 AD – 79 AD and possessed of linguistic staying power that really puts “amazeballs” into perspective.

HEART IN MOUTH

Instinctively, we all know what this saying means because we’ve all experienced the sensation. Whether watching your child scale a power pole in the rain, or personally streaking naked across the MCG on a cold day, we know what it’s like when you feel like you’re going to vomit up a major organ. No one really knows where this term comes from, but we know it’s been around as long as both hearts and mouths.

THE WAY TO A MAN’S HEART IS THROUGH HIS STOMACH

This is totally incorrect. No matter what entry point you take (and there are really only two options) you will not end up at the heart without going “off road”. Remember ’80s movie Innerspace? If actor Dennis Quaid had taken this advice he’d never have gotten anywhere. If, however, you take the view that cooking food for a man is the way to win his affections, that’s hard to argue with. What’s for dinner?

WINNING HEARTS AND MINDS

Every villain from the Sheriff of Nottingham to Stalin has wanted to win the hearts and minds of someone. Sadly, far too often the head says yes but the heart says no. Figure out how to snag both and the world is your oyster. This term was used heavily by the US in the Vietnam and Iraq wars. Piece of advice: if anyone wants to win your heart and mind, run for your life.

EAT YOUR HEART OUT

This saying should be a threat, but really it’s more of a schoolyard taunt. For example, while twerking you may take a moment to stop shaking your booty and proclaim: “Eat your heart out, Miley!” The origin of this one is uncertain, but we like to think that far in our distant past we’d slaughter those we admired and eat their hearts so we might emulate them. Relax! Cannibalism is the sincerest form of flattery.

WARM THE COCKLES OF MY HEART 

To warm the cockles of one’s heart is to induce a glow of pleasure or affection. The expression dates from the 17th century, and may originate from the medieval Latin term for the ventricles of the heart, cochleae cordis. Aorta, yes, ventricles, yes; atrium, pulmonary veins and arteries, yup. Not a cockle in sight. These days a cockle is a small, saltwater clam. Should one appear near your heart we recommend you visit your doctor.

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