What does the idiom "lose heart" mean?

Idioms are generally defined as groups of words that form a meaningful whole when they come together, even though the words in them do not make sense on their own. They have produced many idioms according to their own cultural characteristics in communities using the English language. What does lose heart mean? In what situations is lose heart used?

Meaning of "lose heart"


The idiom ‘lose heart’ has two definitions. It can be used to describe a state of discouragement or despondency, in which an individual has become disheartened or has lost all hope in a particular situation. The second definition is that it can refer to someone giving up on a goal or objective, based on the feeling of being overwhelmed or dispirited. In both cases, the phrase ‘lose heart’ generally suggests a moment of emotional defeat or relinquishing of a plan or ambition.


The phrase ‘lose heart’ has its roots in Old English and is a translation from the Latin ‘cor’, which means ‘heart’. It was first used in reference to a lack of courage or spirit, and is described as ‘to abate in vigor, enthusiasm, or resolution’, which was recorded in the late 17th century.


The phrase ‘lose heart’ is commonly used in everyday language and is applicable to a variety of situations. It is often used to refer to a lack of motivation and determination, in both personal and professional contexts. It can also refer to a situation in which an individual has given up on a task they have been working on in the face of difficulty or opposition.

Example Sentences

  • He was determined to pass his exams, but after too many failed attempts, he started to lose heart.
  • I was trying to save up for a new car, but I eventually lost heart after months without making any progress.
  • The team was doing so well in the competition, but after their last loss, they started to lose heart.
  • She started the project with so much enthusiasm and dedication, but eventually lost heart and gave up.

The meanings of the words in the "lose heart" idiom

From Shakespeare to Social Media: The Evolution of English Idioms

English idioms have been around for centuries, with many originating from sources like literature, mythology, and everyday life. Shakespeare, for example, coined many phrases that are still used today, such as "break the ice" and "heart of gold." Over time, new idioms have emerged, with social media and popular culture providing rich sources of inspiration. For instance, the phrase "throwing shade" came into use in the 1990s thanks to ball culture, but has since been popularized by social media.


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