warm the cockles of someone's heart

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First documented use in 1671. Corruption of Latin cochleae (ventricles) in cochleae cordis (ventricles of the heart).[1][2] Earlier attempt to explain the etymology no longer noted in reference works: Possibly due to resemblance of cockles to hearts.[2]


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warm the cockles of someone's heart (third-person singular simple present warms the cockles of someone's heart, present participle warming the cockles of someone's heart, simple past and past participle warmed the cockles of someone's heart)

  1. (idiomatic) To provide happiness, to bring a deeply-felt contentment.
    • 1671 John Eachard:[3]
      This contrivance of his did inwardly rejoice the cockles of his heart.
    • 1871, H F. Manley, A Continental Tour, Together with Notes and Anecdotes of Diplomatic Life:
      My sandwiches had gone the way of all good sandwiches, and no wine remained to warm the cockles of my heart, for my flask had long been emptied
    • 1989, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, translated by H. T. Willetts, August 1914, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, →ISBN, page 214:
      “Surname?” ¶ “Blagodarev.” ¶ A handy name, easy to get hold of, and the ready way he gave it warmed the cockles of the heart.


Related terms[edit]



  1. ^ warm the cockles of one's heart”, in Dictionary.com Unabridged, Dictionary.com, LLC, 1995–present, retrieved 2023-06-29, reproduced from Christine Ammer, The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms, Boston, Mass.: Houghton Mifflin, 2003, →ISBN.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Michael Quinion (August 3, 2002) “Cockles of your heart”, in World Wide Words.
  3. ^ Oxford English Dictionary, 1884–1928, and First Supplement, 1933.