cold hands, warm heart

Cultural Dictionary

Cold hands, warm heart definition


Cold hands indicate affection, possibly because the emotions affect blood circulation.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

cold hands, warm heart

Not showing one's feelings does not signify lack of feeling. For example, Dan rarely sends flowers or anything, but he's a case of cold hands, warm heart. Why a literally cold hand should indicate sympathy or affection is not really clear, but this expression has been so used since about 1900, and the Germans have an identical saying (kalte Hand, warmes Herz).

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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