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heart of grace definition


Define the English word heart of grace below. Heart of grace is a noun. Also define these 0 related words and terms: .



Uncertain, possibly related to take heart (to be courageous; to regain one’s courage). It is unclear whether the original term was heart of grace, or perhaps hart of grace, heart of grease or hart of grease (hart of the season when fat), or hart (heart) of grass (perhaps alluding to a horse taking heart when finding grass),[1] and of is sometimes replaced by at.[2] Later uses have been influenced by grace (free and undeserved favour).



heart of grace (uncountable)

  1. (archaic) Chiefly preceded by get, give, take, etc.: courage or relief, especially when gained as a result of favour shown to one.
    • 1549 February 10 (Gregorian calendar; indicated as 1548), Erasmus, “The Paraphrase of Erasmus vpon the Gospell of Saincte Matthew. Chapter XXII.”, in Nicolas Udall [i.e., Nicholas Udall], transl., The First Tome or Volume of the Paraphrase of Erasmus vpon the Newe Testamente, London: [] Edwarde Whitchurche, →OCLC, folio cvi, verso:
      Therfore whan the Phariſeis ſavve them [the Sadducees] put to ſylence, and rebuked alſo for ignoraũce of ſcripture, they taking harte of grace againe, gather together, and ſet forwarde a certayne doctour of lawe, whiche ſhould got vnto Jeſus with a clerkly queſtion, that eyther he myght reproue hym of ignoraunce, orels he hymſelfe beare a waye the prayſe of learnyng.
    • [[1578], John Lylly [i.e., John Lyly], Euphues. The Anatomy of Wyt. [], London: [] Thomas East, for Gabriell Cawood, [], →OCLC; republished in Edward Arber, editor, Euphues. The Anatomy of Wit. [] Euphues and His England. [], London: Alex[ander] Murray & Son, [], 1 October 1868, →OCLC, page 65:
      Riſe therefore Euphues, and take heart at graſſe, younger thou ſhalt neuer be: plucke vp thy ſtomacke, if loue it ſelfe haue ſtoung thee, it ſhal not ſtifle thee.]
    • 1591, [Ludovico Ariosto], “The XXI. Booke”, in Iohn Haringtõ [i.e., John Harington], transl., Orlando Furioso in English Heroical Verse, [], London: [] Richard Field [], →OCLC, stanza 39, page 165:
      And hearing that Argeo vvas avvay, / And vvould continue ſo no little ſpace, / He came vvithin the caſtle vvall to day, / (His abſence gaue him ſo much heart of grace) []
    • 1640, I. H. [i.e., James Howell], “Prince Rocalinos Iourney to Elaiana”, in ΔΕΝΔΡΟΛΟΓΊΑ [DENDROLOGIA]. Dodona’s Grove, or, The Vocall Forrest, London: [] T[homas] B[adger] for H. Mosley [i.e., Humphrey Moseley] [], →OCLC, page 197:
      [T]he Elder lifted up his hollovv boughs, ſo high, that a little after he took heart of grace to court one of the youngeſt ſprayes of the Imperiall Cedar for his Conſort, though in point of age he quadrupply exceeded her, []
    • [1659, T[itus] Livius [i.e., Livy], “[Book III]”, in Philemon Holland, transl., The Romane Historie [], London: [] W. Hunt, for George Sawbridge, [], →OCLC, pages 95–96:
      The Nobles alſo, ſuch as had been Conſuls, and the ancients, upon an old cankred hatred that they beare ſtill againſt the Tribuns authority, vvhereupon they ſuppoſed the Commons vvere much more devoted and affected, then unto the government of the Conſuls, vvere rather inclined and vvilling that the Decemvirs of their ovvn accord ſhould themſelves aftervvards forgo their office, than that upon hatred and malice received againſt them, the Commons ſhould take heart of graſſe, and hold up head again.]
    • 1712, Humphry Polesworth [pseudonym; John Arbuthnot], “How ’’Lewis Baboon’’ Came to Visit ’’John Bull’’, and what Pass’d between Them”, in Lewis Baboon Turned Honest, and John Bull Politician. Being the Fourth Part of Law is a Bottomless-Pit. [], London: [] John Morphew, [], →OCLC, page 19:
      John had got an Impreſſion that Levvis vvas ſo deadly a cunning Man, that he vvas afraid to venture himſelf alone vvith him: At laſt he took heart of Grace. Let him come up (quoth he) it is but ſticking to my Point, and he can never over-reach me.
    • 1749, Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, “Of a Wonderful Adventure Atchiev’d by the Valorous Don Quixote de la Mancha; the Like Never Compass’d with Less Danger by any of the Most Famous Knights in the World”, in [Peter Anthony] Motteux, transl., edited by [John] Ozell, The History of the Renowned Don Quixote de la Mancha. [], 8th edition, volume I, London: [] W[illiam] Innys, [], →OCLC, part I, book III, page 155:
      Novv the landing-place on the other ſide vvas very muddy and ſlippery, vvhich made the fiſher-man be a long vvhile in going and coming; yet for all that, he took heart o' grace, and made ſhift to carry over one goat, then another, and then another.
    • 1823, [Walter Scott], “The Bohemians”, in Quentin Durward. [], volume I, Edinburgh: [] [James Ballantyne and Co.] for Archibald Constable and Co.; London: Hurst, Robinson, and Co., →OCLC, page 127:
      [T]he peasants, who at first shrunk from him in horror, at his supposed talents for sorcery and grape-devouring, took heart of grace as he got to a distance, and having uttered a few cries and curses, finally gave them emphasis with a shower of stones, although at such a distance as to do little or no harm to the object of their displeasure.
    • 1828 May 15, [Walter Scott], chapter VI, in Chronicles of the Canongate. Second Series. [] (The Fair Maid of Perth), volume III, Edinburgh: [] [Ballantyne and Co.] for Cadell and Co.; London: Simpkin and Marshall, →OCLC, page 133:
      But looking round me, and seeing none hurt but John Squallit, [] I took heart of grace, and shot in my turn with good will and good aim.
    • 1859–1861, [Thomas Hughes], “Μηδὲν ἄγαν”, in Tom Brown at Oxford: [], part 2nd, Boston, Mass.: Ticknor and Fields, published 1861, →OCLC, page 174:
      In a day of two, however, he began to take heart of grace, and to find himself oftener at Mary's side, with something to say, and more to look.
    • 1870, William Morris, “November: The Story of Rhodope”, in The Earthly Paradise: A Poem, part III, London: F[rederick] S[tartridge] Ellis, [], →OCLC, page 297:
      So, while she gathered heart of grace to meet / The few words they might speak together there, / He was beside her; []



  1. ^ Robert Nares; James O[rchard] Halliwell; Thomas Wright (1876), “HEART OF GRACE”, in A Glossary; or, Collection of Words, Phrases, Names, and Allusions to Customs, Proverbs, etc., which have been Thought to Require Illustration, in the Works of English Authors,, Particularly Shakespeare and His Contemporaries. [], volume I (A–J), new edition, London: John Russell Smith, →OCLC, page 412, column 1.
  2. ^ heart of grace, n.”, in OED Online , Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, March 2022.

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