heart of gold
A very kind and good nature, as in Bill is very generous; he has a heart of gold. This expression alludes to gold in the sense of “something valued for its goodness.” [Late 1500s]
Words nearby heart of gold
BEHIND THE PHRASE
What does heart of gold mean?
A heart of gold is a good and kind nature. A person who is said to have a heart of gold is thought to be a good and kind person.
The word heart is very commonly used to refer to the metaphorical or hypothetical center of human emotions or human nature. The word gold implies goodness or purity. In this way, heart of gold is an idiom implying that a person is truly good and kind at their core.
Similar phrases imply other things—heart of stone, for example, refers to a cold and unfeeling nature.
The phrase heart of gold is sometimes used to contrast with another trait seen as less positive, or to suggest that someone often seen as immoral is actually a good person.
Example: He’s not the best businessman, but he’s got a heart of gold.
Where does heart of gold come from?
The phrase heart of gold has been used since at least the 1500s. The phrase is thought to have been popularized through its use in William Shakespeare’s play Henry V, which was written around 1599.
In the play, a peasant uses the phrase to praise the king, who is in disguise at the time:
These lines emphasize the strength of Henry’s moral character by showing that even a peasant believes Henry to be a good, valiant king based on his deeds, rather than his kingly status or appearance.
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How is heart of gold used in real life?
Heart of gold is always used positively.
Yes, I do have a twin sister and I am so proud of her. She has a heart of gold and she teaches me life lessons every day. I wish I could be more like her!
— Sicilian Sapienza (Sici) (Debbie) (@SicilianSapien1) January 11, 2021
— HOLA! USA (@USAHOLA) June 18, 2019
"Grumpy old fart with a heart of gold." Yeah. My dad probably shouldn't have let me write his Instagram bio for him.
— Natasha Negovanlis (@natvanlis) December 10, 2015
Try using heart of gold!
Which of the following words would NOT be used to describe a person who is said to have a heart of gold?
How to use heart of gold in a sentence
In straight relationships with an age gap, words like ‘gold-digger’ and ‘trophy wife’ get thrown around.Freaking Out About Age Gaps in Gay Relationships Is Homophobic|Samantha Allen|January 9, 2015|DAILY BEAST
The questions going through my mind are: How on earth are there Kalashnikovs and rocket launchers in the heart of Paris?Ayaan Hirsi Ali: Our Duty Is to Keep Charlie Hebdo Alive|Ayaan Hirsi Ali|January 8, 2015|DAILY BEAST
But at the heart of this “Truther” conspiracy theory is the idea that “someone” wants to destroy Bill Cosby.
She fills her characters up—strong women beating back against a sexist system—with so much heart.Oscars 2015: The Daily Beast’s Picks, From Scarlett Johansson to ‘Boyhood’|Marlow Stern|January 6, 2015|DAILY BEAST
One specific kind of emergency is at the heart of this, such as when an airplane suffers a loss of stability at night.Flight 8501 Poses Question: Are Modern Jets Too Automated to Fly?|Clive Irving|January 4, 2015|DAILY BEAST
The blood that accused his friend in his heart, rushed to his face, when he repeated what had been told him.The Pastor's Fire-side Vol. 3 of 4|Jane Porter
After all, may not even John Burns be human; may not Mr. Chamberlain himself have a heart that can feel for another?God and my Neighbour|Robert Blatchford
When she arrived she made a regular entry into the city in a coach all gold and glass, drawn by eight superb plumed horses.Music-Study in Germany|Amy Fay
Turn away from sin and order thy hands aright, and cleanse thy heart from all offence.The Bible, Douay-Rheims Version|Various
On his head was the second-hand hat of some parvenu's coachman, gold lace, cockade and all.The Pit Town Coronet, Volume I (of 3)|Charles James Wills