That a cockle is a bivalve mollusk having a rounded or heart-shaped ribbed shell alludes to the heart. The four chambers of a human heart might be described as being of multiple cockles. The word cockle is also used for "wrinkle." So, one could conceive a warming of the cockles of one's heart to mean bringing emotional warmth to the heart's embodiment or to its wrinkles, creases, or folds. --Ditrt 06:58, 9 August 2009 (UTC)
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Talk:warm the cockles of someone's heart
The Irish Gaelic word "cochall" means "hood" or "hooded garment". "Cochall an chroí", literally, the hood of the heart, is the term in Irish for the pericardium. "Cochall mo chroí" means the "cochall" or hood of my heart or my pericardium. Rural people, used to slaughtering their own livestock, would be familiar with such internal body parts, but they would not be familiar with the English terminology. It would be natural to warm a hooded garment to make it more comfortable, so the saying "cochall mo chroí a théamh" came across into English first as "to warm the cochall of my heart" As the saying became more widespread among non-Irish speakers, they misinterpreted "cochall" as "cockle" then "cockles". Interestingly, there is another Irish phrase, "caisín an chroí", which also translates "cockles of the heart". "Caisín" means "little twisting/winding", which refers to the internal intricate vessels of the heart.