What does the idiom "lose heart" mean?

The expression lose heart is one of the idioms that often finds a place in our literature and enriches our language. However, its meaning is not fully understood, so it is sometimes used in the wrong situations. Please review the explanation carefully for the correct use of the lose heart idiom.

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

Idioms with similar meaning

"Don't judge a book by its cover" is an English idiom that means you shouldn't make assumptions about someone or something based solely on its appearance. In Japanese, the similar idiom is "Hana yori dango," which translates to "Dumplings rather than flowers." This idiom means that substance is more important than appearance.


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