With Hand on Heart: Definition, Meaning, and Origin

Last Updated on
January 28, 2024

The phrase "with hand on heart" is an idiom used to express sincerity, honesty, or deep conviction. When someone says they are speaking or acting 'with hand on heart,' they are asserting that they are being truthful or are deeply committed to what they are expressing. This phrase can also indicate a sense of earnestness or profound emotion about the subject being discussed.

In short:

  • It's used to express sincerity or honesty.
  • It indicates deep conviction or earnestness.

What Does "With Hand on Heart" Mean?

The phrase "with hand on heart" is a metaphorical expression implying that the speaker is being truthful or deeply sincere. Historically, placing one's hand over the heart has been a gesture of honesty or allegiance. In modern usage, saying 'with hand on heart' is a verbal way of making this gesture, often used to emphasize the truthfulness or seriousness of one's words or actions. For example, if someone says, "I can say with hand on heart that I gave it my all," they are emphasizing their complete and sincere effort in a task.

More about the phrase's meaning:

  • It is often used to underscore the truthfulness of a statement.
  • It can be used to express deep personal conviction or commitment.
  • Sometimes employed to convey emotional sincerity.
  • Common in both spoken and written English in formal and informal contexts.
  • Similar phrases include "honestly," "sincerely," and "from the bottom of my heart."

Where Does "With Hand on Heart" Come From?

While the exact origin of the phrase is not clearly documented, its usage and significance can be traced through various cultural and historical contexts. Historically, placing one's hand over the heart has been a gesture of sincerity and truthfulness. This action is often associated with taking oaths or making solemn promises, where the hand on the heart signifies the speaker's genuine intentions and honesty. The gesture likely stems from the long-held belief that the heart is the seat of emotion and truth within a person. By placing the hand on the heart, one symbolically links their words to their innermost feelings and convictions.

10 Examples of "With Hand on Heart" in Sentences

To help you understand how to use this phrase, here are some examples from various situations:

  • With her hand on her heart, she promised to uphold the values of honesty and integrity in her new role.
  • As he spoke about his late father, he placed his hand on his heart, visibly moved by the memories.
  • As the cold wind blew, she ducked down with her hand on her heart, recalling the warm memories of home.
  • She stood with her hand on her heart during the national anthem, feeling a surge of patriotism.
  • With his hand on his heart, the old man recounted tales of his youth, his eyes sparkling with nostalgia.
  • With his hand on his heart, he said, "Please, go easy on me."
  • With his hand on his heart, he promised to hold the line and stand firm in the face of adversity.
  • With her hand on her heart, the teacher expressed her deep gratitude to her students for their surprise farewell party.
  • He put his hand on his heart and apologized, showing genuine remorse for his mistake.
  • With their hands on their hearts, the community members took a pledge to work together for a better future.

Examples of "With Hand on Heart" in Pop Culture

This phrase is often used in movies, TV shows, and literature to depict sincerity or honesty in characters' actions or words.

Let's look at some examples:

  • The book "Phyllo Cane and the Magical Menagerie" receives praise for being even better than its predecessor, with the reviewer stating, "I can say with hand on heart, the second book is even better than the first."
  • "Preparing the Ghost: An Essay Concerning the Giant Squid and Its First Photographer" by Matthew Gavin Frank garners reviews describing it as "charmingly eccentric and utterly unforgettable...with hand on heart I can say."
  • In the movie "Outcast" (2014), a reviewer notes, "With hand on heart then I can say that Hayden Christensen actually performed quite well and carried the movie nicely."
  • The song "Four To The Floor" by Starsailor includes the lyrics, "With hand on heart, you right from the start, You taught me to take my part."

Synonyms: Other/Different Ways to Say "With Hand on Heart"

Here are some alternative phrases that express the same idea:

  • Honestly
  • Sincerely
  • Truthfully
  • From the bottom of my heart
  • In all honesty
  • Without a doubt
  • Wholeheartedly
  • Genuinely
  • With all sincerity
  • Frankly

10 Frequently Asked Questions About "With Hand on Heart":

  • What does "with hand on heart" mean?

"With hand on heart" is an idiom used to express sincerity, honesty, or deep conviction.

  • How can I use "with hand on heart" in a sentence?

For example, "I can say with hand on heart that I did my best in the situation."

  • Is "with hand on heart" only used in serious situations?

It's often used in serious contexts but can be applied in any situation where sincerity or honesty is emphasized.

  • Can "with hand on heart" be used in professional settings?

Yes, it can be used in professional contexts to convey honesty or a strong belief in one's statements or actions.

  • Is this phrase related to any physical gesture?

Yes, it originates from the gesture of placing one's hand over the heart, symbolizing sincerity and truthfulness.

  • Is "with hand on heart" a formal expression?

It can be used in both formal and informal settings, depending on the context and tone.

  • What's the origin of "with hand on heart"?

The origin comes from the gesture of placing the hand over the heart, historically associated with honesty and allegiance.

  • Can "with hand on heart" be used to emphasize a promise?

Yes, it's often used when making promises or assurances to underscore their seriousness.

  • Are there similar expressions to "with hand on heart"?

Similar expressions include "honestly," "sincerely," and "from the bottom of my heart."

  • Is "with hand on heart" an idiom or a literal expression?

It's an idiom that conveys a figurative meaning rather than a literal one.

Final Thoughts About "With Hand on Heart"

"With hand on heart" is a meaningful idiom that adds depth and sincerity to one's words or promises. Its use spans various contexts, enhancing the emotional weight of statements.

To recap:

  • Useful for expressing sincerity and honesty.
  • Appropriate in both personal and professional settings.
  • Derived from a physical gesture symbolizing truthfulness.
  • Enhances the emotional depth of communication.

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