cockles of the heart

noun phrase

: the core of one's being
usually used in the phrase warm the cockles of the heart

Word History


probably from cockle entry 2, from a presumed resemblance of the closed shell to a heart

Note: Compare Herzmuschel, the German name for the cockle, literally, "heart mussel"; and New Latin Cardium, the original genus name of the species (based on Greek kardía "heart").

First Known Use

1671, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of cockles of the heart was in 1671

Dictionary Entries Near cockles of the heart

Cite this Entry

“Cockles of the heart.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Dec. 2023.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!