We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Does "by Heart" Mean?

Jim B.
Updated May 23, 2024
Our promise to you
Language & Humanities is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At Language & Humanities, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

“By heart” is an English idiom used whenever someone knows something completely without any gaps in his or her knowledge on the subject. This is an English idiom used whenever someone has such intimate knowledge of something that he or she can answer any question on the subject. The idiomatic expression “by heart” is also used when someone is able to recite something, be it a song or a piece of writing, without missing a single word. It is one of many idioms that make use of the heart as the figurative place where everything important to a person is stored.

On certain occasions, a person might use an English word or phrase which means something quite different from what someone might expect, based on the literal definitions of the words. Such a construction is known as an idiom, which actually takes its meaning not from any predetermined definitions but rather from the way the word or phrase has been used in a culture. It is, therefore, understood in this manner, and speakers can use it to add color and impact to their conversations with others. One idiom which makes use of the figurative associations of the human heart is the phrase “by heart.”

When someone knows something so well that it warrants the use of this phrase, he or she can be considered an expert on the subject. Although there is often some exaggeration at play when this phrase is used, the general implication is that anyone who knows something in this manner knows it without fail. As an example, consider the sentence, “I’ve been living in this area for so long now that I know it by heart.”

In conjunction with this notion, the phrase is often used when someone is asked to recite or repeat some piece of writing or anything else that can be memorized. After working on learning something for so long, the words contained in it often can be recited without any struggle. For example, someone might say, “The teacher said we would have to learn all of those passages by heart if we were going to pass.”

The heart is involved in many idioms. Since the heart is the figurative center of emotions and all things that are important to people, any phrase containing it has a certain impact on listeners. “By heart” indicates a complete knowledge of a subject, so complete that it resides by a person’s heart.

Language & Humanities is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Jim B.
By Jim B. , Former Writer
Freelance writer - Jim Beviglia has made a name for himself by writing for national publications and creating his own successful blog. His passion led to a popular book series, which has gained the attention of fans worldwide. With a background in journalism, Beviglia brings his love for storytelling to his writing career where he engages readers with his unique insights.

Discussion Comments

By Charred — On Jan 19, 2012

@nony - For something to be in your heart, it has to be the focus of constant meditation. In that sense I think by heart makes sense.

One of the first things that my kids learned by heart was the names of all the States of America. They used a few mnemonic aids to help them learn that, and did a whole lot of drilling, but they nailed it every time.

By nony — On Jan 18, 2012

It’s interesting that the phrase is “by heart” and not “by mind,” even though the brain is the organ of your body that does the memorizing. I think the usage is more than figurative however.

Some people believe in a soul, which could alternatively be called your “heart” in this spiritual sense. So to know something by heart in this sense means that you know it in the depths of your soul, not figuratively, but literally.

I don’t know if I am splitting hairs here, but it’s interesting to reflect on all the possible etymologies of this phrase.

Jim B.

Jim B.

Former Writer

Freelance writer - Jim Beviglia has made a name for himself by writing for national publications and creating his own...
Learn more
Language & Humanities, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

Language & Humanities, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.