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not have the heart to

Be unable to bring oneself to say or do something, as in He didn't have the heart to tell her the cat had died. [ Mid-1600s ]
Also see: have a heart
The American HeritageĀ® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright Ā© 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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