bless one's heart

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

A conventional shortening of a wish May God bless (your/her/his/etc) heart.

Phrase[edit]

bless someone's heart

  1. Used to express gratitude. (Compare bless you, God bless you.)
  2. (chiefly Southern US) Used to soften criticism or express pity. (Compare the British usage of bless (expression of endearment or belittlement).)
    • 2002, Hack Proofing Your Identity In The Information Age (ISBN 0080478085), page 9:
      We just moved my dad to a senior community, and I need to make sure he changed his gas service over to his new address. Bless his heart—he doesn't remember things the way he used to!
    • 2004, Larry Michael Ellis, The Life and Legend of Robert "Black Bob" Renfro (ISBN 1418408484)
      “Bob had my permission to travel with Mister Jackson. Mister Jackson asked for his help, and I agreed.”
      “They must have tricked you, bless your heart. How could you know what they were plotting,” Mistress Dean said in her most sympathetic tone.
    • 2008, Jerry Deriso, Save Me A Place In Heaven (ISBN 1469119455)
      "Bless her heart, she doesn't have the fashion sense God gave a billygoat."
    She [a dog] can't fit in her puppy bed anymore, but she still tries, bless her heart.
    Bless his heart, he doesn't have sense enough to pour piss out of a boot with the instructions written on the heel.
    They're having a hard time getting used to the food down here. They don't like grits — bless their hearts, they don't even like sweet tea.

Synonyms[edit]