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A map of the world heartland (indicated as “pivot area”; sense 2.1.1) from the English geographer Halford John Mackinder’s article The Geographical Pivot of History (1904).
A playground in Woodlands, a residential town in the North Region, which is regarded as being in the heartland (sense 2.1.2) of Singapore.

From heart ((figuratively) centre, core, essence) +‎ land.[1]



heartland (plural heartlands)

  1. Synonym of heart (the seat of the affections or love)
  2. Also in the plural form heartlands:
    1. The interior part of a region, especially when contrasted with coastal parts or when regarded as particularly powerful or significant.
      1. (specifically) In the geopolitical theory of the English geographer Halford John Mackinder (1861–1947): the interior of the world island comprising north-central Eurasia regarded as politically powerful.
        Coordinate term: rimland
      2. (specifically, Singapore, chiefly in the plural) Residential districts and planning areas outside the city centre; the new towns of Singapore collectively.
        • 2003, Anais [pseudonym], soc.culture.singapore (Usenet):
          Those in the HDB [Housing and Development Board] heartland will be able to vote in the airconditioned comfort of their community centres []
        • 2001 March 16, Alfred Dass, Today, Singapore: Mediacorp Press, →OCLC, page 8:
          Take heart, small-time shopkeepers in the heartlands.
        • 2003 July 23, Jason Lee Boon Hong, Today, Singapore: Mediacorp Press, →OCLC, page 10:
          I applaud the organising committee's decision to hold the concert in the heartlands.
      3. (specifically, US, often attributively) The states in the centre of the United States, chiefly regarded as politically and socially conservative; also, the people living in such states collectively.
        Synonym: Middle America
    2. A region or part of a region particularly associated with or significant for a characteristic, such as an activity, a faith, support for a political party or other organization, etc.
      The home counties are the Conservative heartland.
      We stayed in the heartland of the French wine-growing regions.

Derived terms[edit]



  1. ^ heartland, n.”, in OED Online Paid subscription required, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, July 2023; “heartland, n.”, in Lexico, Dictionary.com; Oxford University Press, 2019–2022.

Further reading[edit]