Big-hearted “generous; kind” certainly wears its heart on its sleeve, etymologically speaking. It’s a straightforward compound of big “magnanimous; generous; kindly” and hearted “having a specified kind of heart.” While big-hearted is found in English in the 1700s in the sense of “courageous,” the word heart, as regarded as the center of a person’s emotion and disposition, reaches well back into Old English. Hearted is used in combination with other adjectives to describe various temperaments: cold-hearted, fainthearted, hardhearted, and lighthearted are some other common examples.
The varied gifts were ranged about the foot of the bed, the golf stockings bulging with sweets were hung at its head, and the big-hearted donors retired ….
For his part, the Badger left him in no doubt that a small effort now, and a big-hearted gesture, would make all the difference to the life of Toad, of the River Bank and of them all.
eagerly expectant, as anticipating a desired event or arrival: waiting atiptoe for the mail.
If children wait atiptoe for Christmas morning, they are “eagerly expectant,” their anticipation likened to the excitement associated with standing on tiptoe. And indeed, “on tiptoe” is what the adjective and adverb atiptoe literally means. The initial a– in atiptoe is a reduced form of the Old English preposition on, variously meaning “on, in, into, toward.” This particular a– (the form has many other senses or functions in English) appears in a great variety of words, such as acknowledge, ablaze, aloud, and away. So, afoot, as another example, began as the prepositional phrase on foot. Atiptoe is recorded English by the late 1500s.
Ethel was standing beside her all aglow and atiptoe with anticipation.
The audience was atiptoe when “Suor Angelica” began, but despondent at the curtain’s fall.
comfortable and pleasant; cozy.
The adjective gemütlich “comfortable and pleasant; cozy” is borrowed directly from German gemütlich “homey, casual, social.” Gemütlich is composed of Gemüt “mind, mentality” and –lich, which is equivalent to English’s adverb-forming suffix –ly. The German noun Gemüt—which might be more properly translated as “the total composition of the human psyche and spirit”—is formed from ge-, a collective noun-forming prefix, and Mut “courage,” related to English mood. Gemütlich entered English in the mid-1800s.
Nina exclaimed at the old walnut trimmings, gurgled over the crowded decorations in the Victorian manner, and settled down, announcing that it was so gemütlich, she would love a cup of tea.