July 24, 2016
Home is where the heart is.
Today, I was alerted that July 24 is Parents’ Day in the United States. Apparently, it was determined that the fourth Sunday of July would be designated as such in 1994. Sparkyjen has such a touching post on the subject. Please check it out.
Now, in order of this day, I thought I would take a look at this famous saying. There is a bit of a coincidence, as I was thinking of this saying before finding out about Parents’ Day.
When Did This Saying Originate?
It appears that there may not be a clear origin for “Home is where the heart is.” However, this saying is attributed to Pliny the Elder, a.k.a. Gaius Plinius Secundus, who died in 79 A.D. during the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in Pompeii (White).
Pliny the Elder was born in 23 A.D. and he came to be known as one of Rome’s most famous scholars for centuries after his death. He is known for his Natural History, a series of 37 books that mixed studies from Greek works, observations, and pseudoscience. The books, finished in 77 A.D., were used as a basis for studies in Europe until the Middle Ages (Stannard).
One attribution to Pliny the Elder for the saying comes from a Random House publication devoted to famous sayings and idioms. A passage was recorded in a 2001 message on The Phrase Finder:
HOME IS WHERE THE HEART IS — “One prefers one’s home to all other places. Home is where one is most emotionally attached. Although the proverb has probably been in use since time immemorial, it has been attributed to Pliny the Elder (A.D. 23-79). First attested in the United States in J. J. McCloskey’s ‘Davey Crockett and Other Plays’ : ‘Well, home, they say, is where the heart is.’ .”
What Does This Idiom Mean?
It’s quite clear to decipher the meaning, although, it could be looked at from multiple angles. It depends on what one’s definition of “home” is.
The first meaning I can think of is similar to the second definition offered on a page from The Free Dictionary (via Cambridge University Press). In short, your home is the place you love the most and that is where you can find the person or people you love the most.
The first definition offered on the same page has a slight variation:
Home is where the heart is. (Via McGraw-Hill)
Prov. People long to be at home.; Your home is whatever place you long to be. I’ve had a lovely time visiting you, but home is where the heart is, and I think it’s time I went back. If home is where the heart is, then my home is my parents’ old house. I’ve never loved my own apartment the way I love their place.
From Bill White’s article, “Home is where the heart is” could mean that you can make any place you are your “home.” That is, you can be comfortable and feel safe no matter where you go (with a few caveats and exceptions).
Whatever definition you go by, it depends one where you are most comfortable.
How Does This Tie to Parents’ Day?
Hey, if you love your parents, you can definitely feel at home with them, no matter how old you get, and despite the distance. Even if you parents move to a new home themselves, they will always make you feel welcome whenever you visit.
It is hard to first move out (or to move at all). Some of us may move around a lot and the neighbors might not be as friendly, so it is hard to feel at home. But as long as you know someone and can live with those you care about, that can help quite a bit. A visit from your parents can, too.
“Home is where the heart is.” Cambridge Idioms Dictionary, 2nd ed. Cambridge University Press; 2006. Retrieved 24 Jul. 2016 <http://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/Home+is+where+the+heart+is>.
“Home is where the heart is.” McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.; 2002. Retrieved 24 Jul. 2016 <http://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/Home+is+where+the+heart+is>.
Kerrigan, Jennifer ann. “Re: Home is where the heart is.” The Phrase Finder. 8 Nov 2001. Web. Retrieved 24 July 2016. <http://www.phrases.org.uk/bulletin_board/11/messages/760.html>.
Stannard, Jerry. “Pliny the Elder”. Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Encyclopædia Britannica Inc., 2016. Web. 24 Jul. 2016. <https://www.britannica.com/biography/Pliny-the-Elder>.
Titelman, Gregory Y. Random House Dictionary of Popular Proverbs and Sayings. Random House, New York; 1996. Print.
White, Bill. “Home Is Where the Heart Is.” Chipur. 23 Sep 2012. Web Retrieved 24 July 2016. <http://chipur.com/home-is-where-the-heart-is/>.