Welcome to the website woven for wordaholics, logolepts, and verbivores. Carnivores eat meat; herbivores eat plants and vegetables; verbivores devour words. If you are heels over head (as well as head over heels) in love with words, tarry here a while to graze or, perhaps, feast on the English language. Ours is the only language in which you drive in a parkway and park in a driveway and your nose can run and your feet can smell.

Valentine’s Day probably originated from the ancient Roman Feast of Lupercalia. On the eve of that festival, the names of Roman girls were written on slips of paper and placed into jars. Each young man drew a slip, and the girl whose name he chose became his sweetheart for the year.

Legend has it that the holiday became Valentine’s Day after Valentine, a Christian priest in 3rd-century Rome at the time that Christianity was a new religion. The Emperor Claudius II forbade Roman soldiers to marry, believing that married soldiers would prefer to stay home with their families rather than fight his wars.

Valentine defied the Emperor’s decree and secretly married young couples. He was eventually arrested, imprisoned and put to death on February 14, 269, the eve of Lupercalia, and afterward made a saint. As Rome became more Christian, Lupercalia became St. Valentine’s Day, observed each February 14.

In the English language, the heart is often used to denote the seat of passion, compassion, courage and intelligence. Of all the parts of the body, the heart is the one that throbs most pervasively through our daily conversation.

If, for example, we are deeply saddened, we might say that we are heartsick, heartbroken, downhearted, heavy-hearted or discouraged. At the heart of discouraged beats the Latin cor, “heart,” giving the word the literal meaning of “disheartened.” Or if we wish to emphasize our sincerity, we might say heartfelt, with all my heart, from the bottom of my heart or in my heart of hearts.

If something pleases us greatly, we might drag out heart’s delight or it warms the cockles of my heart. A cockle is a bivalve mollusk of the genus Cardium (Latin “heart”) that takes its name from its shape, which resembles that of a human heart.

It was once the custom for a young man to attach to his sleeve a gift for his sweetheart or to wear her name embroidered on his sleeve, thus displaying his feelings for the world to see. Seizing on this practice, William Shakespeare, in his tragic play “Othello,” gave the world the expression to wear one’s heart on one’s sleeve, meaning “to show one’s emotions.”

Using the definitions that follow, identify each common word and expression that contains the word heart. Answers repose at the end of this column.

1. to take seriously 2. please be merciful 3. beloved person 4. be reassured 5. to desire earnestly 6. to be frightened 7. discouraged 8. incomplete, as in an effort 9. complete, as in an effort 10. substantial, as a meal 11. mental anguish 12. the central issue 13. brave, courageous 14. Cowardly 15. uninvolved 16. to swear to be telling the truth 17. characterizing a good person 18. characterizing a cruel person 19. entertainment idol 20. to give up 21. to regret deeply and painfully 22. one who shows extravagant sympathy 23. to memorize 24. indigestion 25. to play hard
26. just what one likes 27. a change of mind 28. to reassure 29. the essential emotion, as of a nation 30. youthful in attitude 31. very sad 32. characterizing an intimate conversation 33. thoroughly evil 34. cheerful, free from anxiety 35. suspenseful 36. showing empathy 37. to be well-intentioned 38. deeply satisfying 39. to strive mightily 40. intimately connected


1. to take to heart 2. have a heart 3. sweetheart, heart of one’s heart 4. take heart 5. to have one’s heart set on
6. to have one’s heart in one’s mouth 7. disheartened 8. half-hearted 9. whole-hearted 10. hearty 11. heartache 12. heart of the matter, at the heart of 13. lion-hearted 14. faint of heart, chickenhearted, a lot of heart 15. heart isn’t in it  16. to cross one’s heart 17. heart of gold, good-hearted 18. heartless, heart of stone, hard-hearted 19. heart throb 20. to lose heart 21. to eat one’s heart out 22. a bleeding heart 23. learn by heart 24. heartburn 25. to play one’s heart out 26. after one’s own heart 27. change of heart 28. to put one’s heart at rest 29. the heartbeat 30. young at heart 31. heartrending 32. heart-to-heart 33. blackhearted 34. light-hearted 35. heart-stopping 36. heart goes out to 37. to have one’s heart in the right place 38. to one’s heart’s content 39. to put one’s heart into it 40. close to one’s heart