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bleeding heart

any of various plants belonging to the genus Dicentra, of the fumitory family, especially D. spectabilis, a common garden plant having long, one-sided clusters of rose or red heart-shaped flowers.
a person who makes an ostentatious or excessive display of pity or concern for others.
Origin of bleeding heart
First recorded in 1685-95
Related forms
bleeding-heart, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for bleeding heart
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Somehow or other, this was the general misfortune of bleeding heart Yard.

    Little Dorrit Charles Dickens
  • They began their perquisitions in bleeding heart Yard that same forenoon.

    Little Dorrit Charles Dickens
  • I see you coming back to us within a year with a broken and bleeding heart.

    The Christian Hall Caine
  • “Oh, never mind your bleeding heart, Bunting,” said Baringstoke.

    Marge Askinforit Barry Pain
  • I only came because I wanted to pour balm, not hope, into your bleeding heart.

  • None knew who he was, but the bleeding heart of him who had once been his friend.

  • The poor, bleeding heart brought not a single moan to the lips.

  • Was she a wanderer and an outcast, with a bleeding heart and a blighted name?

British Dictionary definitions for bleeding heart

bleeding heart

any of several plants of the genus Dicentra, esp the widely cultivated Japanese species D. spectabilis, which has finely divided leaves and heart-shaped nodding pink flowers: family Fumariaceae
  1. a person who is excessively softhearted
  2. (as modifier): a bleeding-heart liberal
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for bleeding heart

type of flowering plant, so called from 1690s. In the sense of "person excessively sympathetic" (especially toward those the speaker deems not to deserve it) is attested by 1951, but said by many to have been popularized with reference to liberals (especially Eleanor Roosevelt) in 1930s by newspaper columnist Westbrook Pegler (1894-1969), though quotations are wanting; bleeding in a figurative sense of "generous" is from late 16c., and the notion of one's heart bleeding as a figure of emotional anguish is from late 14c., but the exact image here may be the "bleeding heart of Jesus."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for bleeding heart

bleeding heart


: a bleeding-heart wimpy liberal

noun phrase

A person regarded as unduly softhearted, esp towards idlers who do not merit sympathy •Very commonly used by the politically conservative to condemn the politically liberal

[1950s+; fr religious pictures showing the bleeding heart of Jesus]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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