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Meaning and Origin of the Idiom 'Warm the Cockles of Your Heart'

Ashmeet Bagga Mar 3, 2020
Warm the cockles of your heart is one of the most interesting and warm idioms in the English language. It relates to the feeling of happiness and affection.

Did You Know?

The chambers of our heart look like a mollusk shell, also known as a cockle.
We all get that warm fuzzy feeling in our heart when we remember something beautiful or if we are reminded of somebody who said or did something nice for us. For example, if your spouse makes breakfast for you or gives you a genuine compliment, your heart starts fluttering and develops that affectionate feeling.
When you do something for maybe your mother, sister, or a friend and it makes them ecstatic, that means you warmed the cockles of their heart. But why is the phrase related to cockles? Let's learn about its origin and meaning.


► Our heart is meant to feel emotions; be it anger, sadness, or love. Similarly, when we are happy and excited about something, it brings the feeling of pleasure, along with other positive emotions.
► 'Warm the cockles of your heart' means that a feeling of contentment has been generated. When somebody makes us happy, it warms our heart, or the cockles of our heart, as the idiom goes.
► When you experience happiness or excitement, you can hear your heart thumping faster. If something warms the cockles of your heart, it refers to something good or amazing which makes your heart beat faster.

Where did the Idiom 'Warm the Cockles of your Heart' come from?

► There are many theories which explain the origin of this phrase. The earliest usage of the idiom was in the 17th century.
Cockles are bivalve mollusk and are heart-shaped with ribbed shells. They were considered as a delicacy by the Britishers. Because of their shape, the idiom 'cockles of your heart' was generated.
► Another probable explanation could be attributed to its Latin roots. The ventricles of the heart are also known as cochleae cordis in Latin. The word cordis is derived from the Latin word cor, which means heart.

► Or the origin of the idiom could be from the French word coquille which is associated with the word cockle, which means shell.
► It also refers to the chambers in the kiln. In the idiom, the word 'cockles' refers to the four chambers of the heart. The chambers of a kiln are required to be ignited for it to function. Similarly, a pleasant incident is considered to ignite the cockles of your heart.


► Joanne: "Hearing that old song again warmed the cockles of your heart,didn't it?"

► Gabrielle: "It's a romantic movie that will warm the cockles of your heart."

Perhaps, the phrase 'cockles of your heart' developed from the more regarded coquilles of your heart.