Why do we say "Home is where the heart is"?

Well-Known Expressions

Home is where the heart is


Your home will always be the place for which you feel the deepest affection, no matter where you are.


The sentiment of this expression is generally attributed to the Roman naval commander, Gaius Plinius Secundus, known to historians as Pliny the Elder (a.d. 23-79). However, we have been unable to find any verification of this.

In his epic, satirical poem Don Juan (originally published, 1819), Lord Byron writes:

He enter'd in the house—his home no more,
For without hearts there is no home; and felt
The solitude of passing his own door
Without a welcome; there he long had dwelt,
There his few peaceful days Time had swept o’er,
There his worn bosom and keen eye would melt
Over the innocence of that sweet child,
His only shrine of feelings undefiled.

A decade later, on the other side of the Atlantic, The Fayetteville Weekly Observer published a poem which, according to phrases.co.uk, reads as follows:

Tis home where e'er the heart is,
Where e'er its loved ones dwell,
In cities, or in cottages,
Throng'd haunts or mossy dell,
The heart's a rover ever,
And thus on wave and wild,
The maiden with her lover walks,
The mother with her child.

Although Byron's reference is the earlier, it seems likely that the more prosaic composition in North Carolina's weekly newspaper triggered the popularity of the expression, with the first known reference using the exact modern wording appearing in the American novel Scandal by J. T. Bickford (1857):

"Describe me a home, Willie."
"Well, I should say, a woman of Kate Bently's appearance-"
"Nay, I said not a wife, but a home."
"Home is where the heart is, Katie".

Alphabetical list of expressions

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