at heart

Idioms & Phrases

at heart

  1. Fundamentally, basically, as in He's a good fellow at heart. It was first recorded in Alexander Pope's Epistle to a Lady (1735): "But every Woman is at heart a Rake."

  2. In one's deepest feelings, as a great concern, as in The governor has the party's best interests at heart. [Early 1700s]

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