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The meaning and origin of the expression: Home is where the heart is

Home is where the heart is

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What's the meaning of the phrase 'Home is where the heart is'?

The proverb 'home is where the heart is' means that, wherever you are and whoever you are with, your home and family provide the greatest emotional bond.

What's the origin of the phrase 'Home is where the heart is'?

Home is where the heart is.It isn't completely clear where this proverbial saying originated but, if I had to guess, I'd guess the USA.

The poem 'Tis home where the heart is, which was published in 1829 in several US newspaper, including this piece in The Fayetteville Weekly Observer:

Tis home where e'er the heart is,
Where e'er its loved ones dwell,
In cities, or in cottages,
Throng'd haunts or mossy dell,
The heart's a rover ever,
And thus on wave and wild,
The maiden with her lover walks,
The mother with her child.

The poem, although virtually doggerel, has a good claim to be the source of the expression 'home is where the heart is'. Other sources, including those as ancient as Pliny, have expressed a similar idea but the wording of the modern-day proverb seems to have been spawned in 1820s USA.

The exact wording we now use is found first, in 1857, in the novel Scandal by J. T. Bickford:

'Describe me a home, Willie.' 'Well, I should say, a woman of Kate Bently's appearance-' 'Nay, I said not a wife, but a home.' 'Home is where the heart is, Katie'.

Gary Martin - the author of the website.

By Gary Martin

Gary Martin is a writer and researcher on the origins of phrases and the creator of the Phrase Finder website. Over the past 26 years more than 700 million of his pages have been downloaded by readers. He is one of the most popular and trusted sources of information on phrases and idioms.

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