AskDefine | Define heart

Dictionary Definition



1 the locus of feelings and intuitions; "in your heart you know it is true"; "her story would melt your bosom" [syn: bosom]
2 the hollow muscular organ located behind the sternum and between the lungs; its rhythmic contractions pump blood through the body; "he stood still, his heart thumping wildly" [syn: pump, ticker]
3 the courage to carry on; "he kept fighting on pure spunk"; "you haven't got the heart for baseball" [syn: mettle, nerve, spunk]
4 an area that is approximately central within some larger region; "it is in the center of town"; "they ran forward into the heart of the struggle"; "they were in the eye of the storm" [syn: center, centre, middle, eye]
5 the choicest or most essential or most vital part of some idea or experience; "the gist of the prosecutor's argument"; "the heart and soul of the Republican Party"; "the nub of the story" [syn: kernel, substance, core, center, essence, gist, heart and soul, inwardness, marrow, meat, nub, pith, sum, nitty-gritty]
6 an inclination or tendency of a certain kind; "he had a change of heart" [syn: spirit]
7 a plane figure with rounded sides curving inward at the top and intersecting at the bottom; conventionally used on playing cards and valentines; "he drew a heart and called it a valentine"
8 a firm rather dry variety meat (usually beef or veal); "a five-pound beef heart will serve six"
9 a positive feeling of liking; "he had trouble expressing the affection he felt"; "the child won everyone's heart" [syn: affection, affectionateness, fondness, tenderness, warmheartedness]
10 a playing card in the major suit of hearts; "he led the queen of hearts"

User Contributed Dictionary



heorte < < . Cognate with Dutch hart, German Herz, Swedish hjärta. The Indo-European root is also the source of Greek sc=Grek, Latin cor, Welsh craidd, Russian сердце, Lithuanian širdis.



  1. A muscular organ that pumps blood through the body.
  2. Emotions, kindness, or spirit in general (but like above, people only have one heart).
  3. A shape or symbol approximately in the shape of a heart (♥).
  4. A playing card of the suit hearts featuring one or more heart-shaped symbols.
  5. The centre, essence, or core.
an organ
emotions or kindness
  • Bosnian: srce
  • Czech: srdce
  • Danish: hjerte
  • Dutch: hart
  • Faroese: hjarta
  • Finnish: sydän
  • French: cœur
  • German: Herzchen
  • Greek: έλεος, σπλαγχνικότητα, συμπόνοια, συναισθηματικότητα, θέρμη, καρδιά
    Ancient Greek:
  • Italian: cuore
  • Japanese: 心
  • Kurdish: dil, qelb
  • Maltese: qalb
  • Norwegian: hjerte
  • Old English: mod, sefa, hyge
  • Portuguese: amabilidade, bondade, generosidade
  • Serbian:
    Cyrillic: срце
    Roman: srce
  • Swedish: hjärta
  • Telugu: మనసు, హృదయం (manasu, hRdayaM)
  • Thai: หัวใจ, ดวงใจ, ฤทัย, ใจ
  • West Frisian: hert
a shape or symbol
  • Arabic: قلب (qalb)
  • Bosnian: srce
  • Catalan: cor
  • Czech: srdce
  • Danish: hjerte
  • Dutch: hart
  • Faroese: hjarta
  • Finnish: sydän
  • French: cœur
  • German: Herz
  • Greek: καρδιά, κούπα
  • Hungarian: szív
  • Icelandic: hjarta
  • Italian: cuore
  • Japanese: ハート
  • Jèrriais: tchoeu
  • Kurdish: dil, qelb
  • Maltese: qalb
  • Norwegian: hjerte
  • Polish: serce , serduszko
  • Portuguese: coração
  • Russian: сердце
  • Scottish Gaelic: cridhe
  • Serbian:
    Cyrillic: срце
    Roman: srce
  • Slovene: srce
  • Spanish: corazón
  • Swedish: hjärta
  • Telugu: ప్రేమ (prema)
  • West Frisian: hert
a suit of cards
  • Bosnian: herc
  • Czech: srdce
  • Danish: hjerter p
  • Dutch: harten
  • Faroese: hjørtu n p
  • Finnish: hertta
  • French: cœur
  • German: Herz
  • Greek: κούπα
  • Hungarian: kőr, piros, herc
  • Icelandic: hjarta
  • Italian: cuori
  • Japanese: ハート
  • Jèrriais: tchoeu
  • Kurdish: dil, qelb
  • Maltese: koppi
  • Norwegian: hjerter
  • Polish: kier
  • Portuguese: copas
  • Russian: черви
  • Serbian:
    Cyrillic: херц
    Roman: herc
  • Slovene: srce
  • Spanish: copas
  • Swedish: hjärter
  • Telugu: ఆఠీను (ATheenu)
  • West Frisian: herten
centre or core
  • Arabic: (qalb)
  • Bosnian: srce
  • Czech: srdce
  • Danish: hjerte
  • Dutch: hart
  • Faroese: hjarta
  • Finnish: sydän, ydin
  • French: cœur
  • German: Kern, Herz
  • Greek: καρδιά
    Ancient Greek: (kardia)
  • Hebrew: מרכז (merkáz) , לב (lev)
  • Icelandic: hjarta
  • Italian: nocciolo
  • Japanese: 中心 (chūshin)
  • Jèrriais: tchoeu
  • Kurdish: dil, qelb
  • Maltese: qalba , ġewieni
  • Norwegian: hjerte
  • Polish: serce
  • Portuguese: cerne (ex: o cerne da questão / ''the core of the question)
  • Russian: сердце (sérdtse) , сердцевина (serdtsevína)
  • Scottish Gaelic: cridhe
  • Serbian:
    Cyrillic: срце
    Roman: srce
  • Spanish: corazón
  • Swedish: hjärta
  • West Frisian: hert


  1. In the context of "internet slang|text messaging|emoticon": To be fond of, frequently abbreviated as <3.

Extensive Definition

The heart is a muscular organ in all vertebrates responsible for pumping blood through the blood vessels by repeated, rhythmic contractions, or a similar structure in annelids, mollusks, and arthropods. The term cardiac (as in cardiology) means "related to the heart" and comes from the Greek καρδία, kardia, for "heart."
The heart of a vertebrate is composed of cardiac muscle, an involuntary muscle tissue which is found only within this organ. The average human heart beating at 72 BPM, will beat approximately 2.5 billion times during a lifetime spanning 66 years.

Early development

The human embryonic heart begins beating around 21 days after conception, or five weeks after the last normal menstrual period (LMP), which is the date normally used to date pregnancy. It is unknown how blood in the human embryo circulates for the first 21 days in the absence of a functioning heart. The human heart begins beating at a rate near the mother’s, about 75-80 beats per minute (BPM). The embryonic heart rate (EHR) then accelerates linearly for the first month of beating, peaking at 165-185 BPM during the early 7th week, (early 9th week after the LMP). This acceleration is approximately 3.3 BPM per day, or about 10 BPM every three days, an increase of 100 BPM in the first month.
After peaking at about 9.2 weeks after the LMP, it decelerates to about 152 BPM (+/-25 BPM) during the 15th week after the LMP. After the 15th week the deceleration slows reaching an average rate of about 145 (+/-25 BPM) BPM at term. The regression formula which describes this acceleration before the embryo reaches 25 mm in crown-rump length or 9.2 LMP weeks is Age in days = EHR(0.3)+6
There is no difference in male and female heart rates before birth.


The structure of the heart varies among the different branches of the animal kingdom. (See Circulatory system.) Cephalopods have two "gill hearts" and one "systemic heart". Fish have a two-chambered heart that pumps the blood to the gills and from there it goes on to the rest of the body. In amphibians and most reptiles, a double circulatory system is used, but the heart is not always completely separated into two pumps. Amphibians have a three-chambered heart.
Birds and mammals show complete separation of the heart into two pumps, for a total of four heart chambers; it is thought that the four-chambered heart of birds evolved independently from that of mammals.
In the human body, the heart is usually situated in the middle of the thorax with the largest part of the heart slightly offset to the left (although sometimes it is on the right, see dextrocardia), underneath the breastbone (see diagrams). The heart is usually felt to be on the left side because the left heart (left ventricle) is stronger (it pumps to all body parts). The left lung is smaller than the right lung because the heart occupies more of the left hemithorax. The heart is enclosed by a sac known as the pericardium and is surrounded by the lungs. The pericardium comprises two parts: the fibrous pericardium, made of dense fibrous connective tissue; and a double membrane structure containing a serous fluid to reduce friction during heart contractions (the serous pericardium). The mediastinum, a subdivision of the thoracic cavity, is the name of the heart cavity.
The apex is the blunt point situated in an inferior (pointing down and left) direction. A stethoscope can be placed directly over the apex so that the beats can be counted. It is located posterior to the 5th intercostal space in the left mid-clavicular line. In normal adults, the mass of the heart is 250-350 g (9-12 oz), or about three quarters the size of a clenched fist, but extremely diseased hearts can be up to 1000 g (2 lb) in mass due to hypertrophy. It consists of four chambers, the two upper atria (singular: atrium ) and the two lower ventricles.


In humans, the function of the right side of the heart (see right heart) is to collect de-oxygenated blood, in the right atrium, from the body and pump it, via the right ventricle, into the lungs (pulmonary circulation) so that carbon dioxide can be dropped off and oxygen picked up (gas exchange). This happens through the passive process of diffusion. The left side (see left heart) collects oxygenated blood from the lungs into the left atrium. From the left atrium the blood moves to the left ventricle which pumps it out to the body. On both sides, the lower ventricles are thicker and stronger than the upper atria. The muscle wall surrounding the left ventricle is thicker than the wall surrounding the right ventricle due to the higher force needed to pump the blood through the systemic circulation.
Starting in the right atrium, the blood flows through the tricuspid valve to the right ventricle. Here it is pumped out the pulmonary semilunar valve and travels through the pulmonary artery to the lungs. From there, blood flows back through the pulmonary vein to the left atrium. It then travels through the mitral valve to the left ventricle, from where it is pumped through the aortic semilunar valve to the aorta. The aorta forks, and the blood is divided between major arteries which supply the upper and lower body. The blood travels in the arteries to the smaller arterioles, then finally to the tiny capillaries which feed each cell. The (relatively) deoxygenated blood then travels to the venules, which coalesce into veins, then to the inferior and superior venae cavae and finally back to the right atrium where the process began.
The heart is effectively a syncytium, a meshwork of cardiac muscle cells interconnected by contiguous cytoplasmic bridges. This relates to electrical stimulation of one cell spreading to neighboring cells.

First aid

The heart is one of the critical organs of an animal's body, as it pumps oxygenated blood to feed the body's biological functions. The cessation of the heartbeat, referred to as cardiac arrest, is a critical emergency. Without intervention, death can occur within minutes of cardiac arrest since the brain requires a continuous supply of oxygen and cannot survive for long if that supply is cut off.
If a person is encountered in cardiac arrest, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) should be started and help called. Use of a defibrillator is preferred, if available, to attempt to restore a normal heartbeat; many public areas have portable defibrillators available for such emergencies. Usually, if there is enough time, the person can be rushed to the hospital where he or she will be cared for by a cardiologist, a doctor who specializes in the heart and lungs.
Electrical innervation of the heart in health is supplied by two closely intertwined mechanisms. The first mechanism is well demonstrated in electrical coil systole (interpreted by the electrocardiogram as QRS)as an individualized myocardial electrical tree initiated by the sinoatrial node. Secondary diastolic electrical control is posited to represent autonomic recoil control from the vagus nerve and cardiac branches and the thoracic ganglia.

History of discoveries

The valves of the heart were discovered by a physician of the Hippocratean school around the 4th century BC. However their function was not properly understood then. Because blood pools in the veins after death, arteries look empty. Ancient anatomists assumed they were filled with air and that they were for transport of air.
Herophilos distinguished veins from arteries but thought that the pulse was a property of arteries themselves. Erasistratos observed that arteries that were cut during life bleed. He ascribed the fact to the phenomenon that air escaping from an artery is replaced with blood that entered by very small vessels between veins and arteries. Thus he apparently postulated capillaries but with reversed flow of blood.
The 2nd century AD, Greek physician Galenos (Galen) knew that blood vessels carried blood and identified venous (dark red) and arterial (brighter and thinner) blood, each with distinct and separate functions. Growth and energy were derived from venous blood created in the liver from chyle, while arterial blood gave vitality by containing pneuma (air) and originated in the heart. Blood flowed from both creating organs to all parts of the body where it was consumed and there was no return of blood to the heart or liver. The heart did not pump blood around, the heart's motion sucked blood in during diastole and the blood moved by the pulsation of the arteries themselves.
Galen believed that the arterial blood was created by venous blood passing from the left ventricle to the right by passing through 'pores' in the interventricular septum, air passed from the lungs via the pulmonary artery to the left side of the heart. As the arterial blood was created 'sooty' vapors were created and passed to the lungs also via the pulmonary artery to be exhaled.

Food use

The hearts of cattle, sheep, pigs, chickens and certain fowl are consumed in many countries. They are counted among offal, but being a muscle, the taste of heart is like regular meat. It resembles venison in structure and taste.


External links

heart in Afrikaans: Hart
heart in Arabic: قلب
heart in Guarani: Ñe'ã
heart in Aymara: Lluqu
heart in Azerbaijani: Ürək
heart in Bengali: হৃৎপিন্ড
heart in Min Nan: Sim-chōng
heart in Bosnian: Srce
heart in Bulgarian: Сърце
heart in Catalan: Cor
heart in Chuvash: Чĕре
heart in Czech: Srdce
heart in Welsh: Calon
heart in Danish: Hjerte (organ)
heart in German: Herz
heart in Dhivehi: ހިތް
heart in Estonian: Süda
heart in Modern Greek (1453-): Καρδιά
heart in Emiliano-Romagnolo: Côr
heart in Spanish: Corazón
heart in Esperanto: Koro
heart in Basque: Bihotz
heart in Persian: قلب
heart in Faroese: Hjarta
heart in French: Cœur
heart in Irish: Croí
heart in Galician: Corazón
heart in Korean: 심장
heart in Hindi: हृदय
heart in Croatian: Srce
heart in Ido: Kordio
heart in Indonesian: Jantung
heart in Icelandic: Hjarta
heart in Italian: Cuore
heart in Hebrew: לב האדם
heart in Javanese: Jantung
heart in Pampanga: Pusu
heart in Kannada: ಹೃದಯ
heart in Georgian: გული (ორგანო)
heart in Kazakh: Жүрек
heart in Kurdish: Dil
heart in Latin: Cor
heart in Latvian: Sirds
heart in Luxembourgish: Häerz
heart in Lithuanian: Širdis
heart in Lingala: Motéma
heart in Hungarian: Szív
heart in Macedonian: Срце
heart in Malayalam: ഹൃദയം
heart in Maltese: Qalb
heart in Malay (macrolanguage): Jantung
heart in Dutch: Hart
heart in Japanese: 心臓
heart in Norwegian: Hjerte
heart in Norwegian Nynorsk: Hjarte
heart in Narom: Tchoeu
heart in Pangasinan: Puso
heart in Pushto: زړه
heart in Low German: Hart
heart in Polish: Serce
heart in Portuguese: Coração
heart in Kölsch: Hätz
heart in Romanian: Inimă
heart in Quechua: Sunqu
heart in Russian: Сердце
heart in Albanian: Zemra
heart in Sicilian: Cori
heart in Simple English: Heart
heart in Slovak: Srdce (orgán)
heart in Slovenian: Srce
heart in Serbian: Срце
heart in Sundanese: Jantung
heart in Finnish: Sydän
heart in Swedish: Hjärta
heart in Tagalog: Puso (anatomiya)
heart in Tamil: இதயம்
heart in Telugu: గుండె
heart in Thai: หัวใจ
heart in Vietnamese: Tim
heart in Tajik: Дил
heart in Turkish: Kalp
heart in Ukrainian: Серце
heart in Urdu: قلب
heart in Võro: Süä
heart in Vlaams: Erte
heart in Yiddish: הארץ
heart in Contenese: 心
heart in Zamboanga Chavacano: Corazon
heart in Dimli: Qelb
heart in Chinese: 心臟

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Amor, Benzedrine, Benzedrine pill, C, Christian love, Dexamyl, Dexamyl pill, Dexedrine, Dexedrine pill, Eros, Methedrine, abatis, abdomen, admiration, adoration, affection, agape, amphetamine, amphetamine sulfate, angina, angina pectoris, anima, anima humana, animating force, anus, aortic insufficiency, aortic stenosis, apoplectic stroke, apoplexy, appendix, ardency, ardor, arrhythmia, arteriosclerosis, atherosclerosis, atman, atrial fibrillation, attachment, auricular fibrillation, axiom, axis, ba, backbone, basics, bathmism, beating heart, being, bench mark, beriberi heart, biological clock, biorhythm, blind gut, blood, bodily love, boldness, bones, bosom, bottom, bowels, brain, brains, bravery, breast, breath, breath of life, brotherly love, buddhi, callousness, cardiac arrest, cardiac insufficiency, cardiac shock, cardiac stenosis, cardiac thrombosis, cardinal point, carditis, caritas, cecum, center, center of action, center of gravity, center of life, centroid, centrum, charity, chief thing, chitterlings, chutzpah, climax, cocaine, cockscomb, coke, colon, compassion, concern, congenital heart disease, conjugal love, consideration, cor biloculare, cor juvenum, cor triatriatum, core, cornerstone, coronary, coronary insufficiency, coronary thrombosis, courage, crisis, critical point, crux, crystal, cue, dauntlessness, dead center, deepest recesses, desire, determination, devotion, dextroamphetamine sulfate, diameter, diaphragm, diastolic hypertension, distillate, distillation, divine breath, divine spark, duodenum, ecstasy, ego, elan vital, elixir, empathy, encased heart, endocarditis, endocardium, enthusiasm, entrails, epicenter, equator, esoteric reality, esprit, essence, essence of life, essential, essential matter, excitement, extrasystole, fabric, faithful love, fancy, fatty heart, feelings, fervency, fervidness, fervor, fibroid heart, fire, flame, flask-shaped heart, flower, focal point, focus, fondness, football, force of life, foregut, frame, frame of mind, free love, free-lovism, frosted heart, fundamental, fundamentals, furor, fury, generosity, giblets, gist, gizzard, goodness, gravamen, great point, grit, growth force, gusto, guts, gutsiness, guttiness, hairy heart, haslet, heart attack, heart block, heart condition, heart disease, heart failure, heart of hearts, heart of oak, heartbeat, heartblood, heartiness, heartlessness, heartstrings, heat, hero worship, high blood pressure, high point, hindgut, hub, humanitarianism, humanity, humor, hypertension, hypertensive heart disease, hypostasis, idolatry, idolism, idolization, impassionedness, important thing, impulse of life, inmost heart, inmost soul, innards, inner, inner essence, inner landscape, inner life, inner man, inner mechanism, inner nature, inner recess, inner self, innermost being, insensitivity, inside, insides, inspiriting force, interior, interior man, intern, internal, internals, intestinal fortitude, intestine, intrados, inward, inwards, ischemic heart disease, issue, jejunum, jiva, jivatma, jolly bean, kernel, keystone, khu, kidney, kidneys, kindliness, kindness, kishkes, landmark, large intestine, lasciviousness, libido, life breath, life cycle, life essence, life force, life principle, life process, lifeblood, like, liking, liveliness, liver, liver and lights, living force, love, lovemaking, lung, magnanimity, main point, main thing, manes, married love, marrow, material, material point, matter, mean, meat, median, medium, medulla, metacenter, methamphetamine hydrochloride, mettle, middle, midgut, midmost, midriff, midst, milestone, mind, mitral insufficiency, mitral stenosis, mood, morale, moxie, myocardial infarction, myocardial insufficiency, myocarditis, myovascular insufficiency, nave, navel, nephesh, nerve, nerve center, note, nub, nucleus, nuts and bolts, omphalos, ox heart, palate, palpitation, paralytic stroke, paroxysmal tachycardia, passion, passionateness, penetralia, pep pill, pericarditis, perineum, physical love, pile, pith, pity, pivot, pluck, pneuma, polestar, popular regard, popularity, postulate, prana, premature beat, principle, pseudoaortic insufficiency, psyche, pulmonary insufficiency, pulmonary stenosis, pump, purple heart, purusha, pylorus, quick, quid, quiddity, quintessence, real issue, recesses, rectum, regard, relish, resolution, rheumatic heart disease, root, round heart, ruach, salient point, sap, savor, sclerosis, seat, seat of life, secret heart, secret place, secret places, sensibility, sensitivity, sentiment, sentiments, sex, sexual love, shade, shadow, shine, sincerity, sine qua non, small intestine, snow, soul, spark of life, speed, spirit, spirits, spiritual being, spiritual love, spiritus, spleen, spunk, stamina, state of mind, stimulant, stomach, stony heart, storm center, stout heart, stroke, stuff, substance, substantive point, sum and substance, sweetbread, sympathy, tachycardia, temper, tender feeling, tender passion, tenderness, the bottom line, the nitty-gritty, the point, the self, thick, thick of things, thrombosis, ticker, tone, tongue, toughness, tricuspid insufficiency, tricuspid stenosis, tripe, tripes, true being, true inwardness, truelove, turning point, turtle heart, umbilicus, understanding, upper, uxoriousness, varicose veins, varix, vehemence, vein, ventricular fibrillation, vermiform appendix, verve, vis vitae, vis vitalis, viscera, vital center, vital energy, vital flame, vital fluid, vital force, vital principle, vital spark, vital spirit, vitals, waist, waistline, warmth, warmth of feeling, weakness, will, works, worship, yearning, zeal, zest, zone
Privacy Policy, About Us, Terms and Conditions, Contact Us
Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2
Material from Wikipedia, Wiktionary, Dict
Valid HTML 4.01 Strict, Valid CSS Level 2.1