Etymology
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heart-to-heart (adj.)
1867; see heart (n.) in figurative sense of "inmost feelings."
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heart (v.)
Old English hiertan "give heart to," from heart (n.). Shakespeare used it as "take to heart" (c. 1600); 1866 of cabbages, "to form a heart." Meaning "to love" is by 1993, from the popular New York state tourism campaign that used the heart symbol in place of the word "love."
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heart (n.)

Old English heorte "heart (hollow muscular organ that circulates blood); breast, soul, spirit, will, desire; courage; mind, intellect," from Proto-Germanic *hertan- (source also of Old Saxon herta, Old Frisian herte, Old Norse hjarta, Dutch hart, Old High German herza, German Herz, Gothic hairto), from PIE root *kerd- "heart."

Spelling with -ea- is c. 1500, reflecting what then was a long vowel, and the spelling remained when the pronunciation shifted. Most of the modern figurative senses were present in Old English, including "memory" (from the notion of the heart as the seat of all mental faculties, now only in by heart, which is from late 14c.), "seat of inmost feelings; will; seat of emotions, especially love and affection; seat of courage." Meaning "inner part of anything" is from early 14c. In reference to the conventional heart-shape in illustration, late 15c.; heart-shaped is from 1744.

Heart attack attested from 1875; heart disease is from 1864. The card game hearts is so called from 1886. To have one's heart in the right place "mean well" is from 1774. Heart and soul "one's whole being" is from 1650s. To eat (one's own) heart "waste away with grief, resentment, etc." is from 1580s.

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heart-beat (n.)
also heartbeat, 1850, "a pulsation of the heart," from heart (n.) + beat (n.). From its coinage used as a figure for "a very brief time."
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bleeding heart (n.)
name applied to several types of flowering plant, 1690s; see bleeding (adj.) + heart (n.).

In the sense of "person liberally and excessively sympathetic" (especially toward those the speaker or writer deems not to deserve it) is attested by 1951, but said by many to have been popularized with reference to liberals (especially Eleanor Roosevelt) in 1930s by newspaper columnist Westbrook Pegler (1894-1969), though quotations are wanting; bleeding in a figurative sense of "generous" is from late 16c., and the notion of one's heart bleeding as a figure of emotional anguish is from late 14c.; the exact image here may be the "bleeding heart of Jesus."
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heart-throb (n.)
also heartthrob, 1821, "passion, affection;" 1839 in literal sense, "a beat of the heart," from heart (n.) + throb (n.). Of persons who inspire romantic feelings, from 1928; used 1910s of a quality that appeals to sentiment or emotion in newspapers, advertising, etc..
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heart-ache (n.)
also heartache, late Old English heort ece "physical pain in or near the heart;" from heart (n.) + ache (n.). Sense of "anguish of mind" is from c. 1600; Old English did, however, have heartsarnes "grief," literally "heart-soreness;" Middle English had herte-smerte "sorrow, contrition."
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heart-wood (n.)
also heartwood, 1801, from heart (n.) in the sense "central part of a tree" (c. 1400) + wood (n.).
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heart-rending (adj.)
also heartrending, 1680s, from heart (n.) + present participle of rend (v.). Related: Heart-rendingly.
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heart-felt (adj.)
also heartfelt, "profoundly felt, deep, sincere," 1734, from heart (n.) + past tense of feel (v.).
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