Heart comes from the Anglo-Saxon (Old English) word for heart, herte. It is typical that basic body part words used in everyday English do not have Latin or Greek roots.
That the heart is linked to emotions, though long recognized as a metaphorical relationship, is a notion shared by most if not all cultures, evident when comparing different languages. Cordial is "showing heartfelt friendliness" and is derived from cor, the Latin word for heart; a cordial welcome is a hearty welcome. Concord, in agreement, means "with the heart", and of course related to accord. Then there's discord, "apart from the heart" and its no surprise that courage also stems from cor.
Strangely, the word coronary is not related to cor. The word comes from the Latin corona, meaning garland, wreath, or crown.
It is thought by linguists that herte, cor, and kardia, the Greek word for heart, all are descendant from a Proto-Indo-European word used some 6000 years ago: kerd.
A peculiar phrase that has come down through the ages is the "cockles of one's heart". The common explanation for the linkage of these two seemingly disparate words is that cockle is just a play on the first half of the medieval Latin term for the heart's ventricles, cochlea cordis, (heart shell), and has nothing to do the with the cockle, a common edible European bivalve. However, one wonders if the etymologists have ever seen the meat of this mollusk, which does bear a resemblance to the opened-up ventricles of a mammalian heart.
| The meat of the European cockle |
| The ventricles of a |