Wear one’s heart on one’s sleeve

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Wear one’s heart on one’s sleeve is an idiom with an uncertain origin. To wear one’s heart on one’s sleeve means to show one’s true emotions, to allow oneself to be vulnerable, to be honest about one’s feelings. The origin of the phrase to wear one’s heart on one’s sleeve is generally attributed to a jousting custom popular during the Middle Ages. Knights traditionally wore colors or some type of insignia on their arms to signify the ladies for whom they were participating in the jousting tournament. However, many dispute this origin story. We do know that the term to wear one’s heart on one’s sleeve was used in a figurative sense by at least 1604, because it appears in the play Othello written by William Shakespeare: “But I will wear my heart upon my sleeve / For daws to peck at: I am not what I am.” Related phrases are wears one’s heart on one’s sleeve, wore one’s heart on one’s sleeve, wearing one’s heart on one’s sleeve.

Examples

The next time you want to wear your heart on your sleeve, or empower yourself and your friends to seek what you deserve romantically, consider wearing a “dump him” piece of clothing. (Teen Vogue)

“You wear your heart on your sleeve because the children are just amazing because sometimes they’ve never even seen a horse and they walk in here and their face lights up like a Christmas tree,” Chris Dunn said. (First Coast News)

“The man wore his heart on his sleeve and gave everyone a piece of it.” (The Minneapolis Star Tribune)

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