warm the cockles of someone's heart

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

17th century, Unknown, possibly due to resemblance of cockles to hearts.[1] Alternatively, may be corruption of Latin cochleae in cochleae cordis(ventricles of heart),[1] or of Irish Gaelic origin. Possibly also inspired by mollusks opening when exposed to warmth, notably cooking.

Verb[edit]

to warm the cockles of someone's heart

  1. (idiomatic) To provide happiness, to bring a deeply-felt contentment
    • 1671 John Eachard:[2]
      This contrivance of his did inwardly rejoice the cockles of his heart.

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References[edit]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Cockles of your heart”, World Wide Words, Michael Quinion, 3 Aug 2002.
  2. ^ James A. H. Murray [et al.], editor (1884–1928) A New English Dictionary on Historical Principles (Oxford English Dictionary), London: Clarendon Press, OCLC 15566697; and The Oxford English Dictionary; being a Corrected Re-issue with an Introduction, Supplement, and Bibliography of A New English Dictionary on Historical Principles (the First Supplement), Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1933, OCLC 2748467.