Famous Sayings #182 — ‘Wholeheartedly’

March 7, 2020

I agree wholeheartedly.

wholeheartedly, wholehearted, matters of the heart, famous sayings, 19th century

To get started in March, I decided to look at a term originally intended for February on Valentine’s Day to be exact but since I had already found the sources, why not publish it now? Since the post was originally meant for Valentine’s Day, it, of course, concerns a matter of the heart, so to speak.


What Does Wholeheartedly Mean?

Wholeheartedly is an adverb that describes one’s attitude toward a cause or when they act on something. When a person says something wholeheartedly, that person’s statements are sincere. Often, people will say, “You have my wholehearted support,” or “I agree wholeheartedly.” When someone gives a wholehearted effort or acts wholeheartedly, they are acting with complete sincerity and commitment (Lexico). They are eager and determined, they have no reservations, and they are earnest. Their actions are so characterized.

Some words that may be synonymous to wholehearted are abiding, ardent, authentic, committed, constant, dedicated, devoted, emphatic, genuine, loyal, naturally, passionate, positive, stalwart, staunch, thoroughly, truthfully, unflinching, and unshakeable.

Compare wholehearted to fainthearted, which alludes to weakness, or half-hearted, which alludes to insincerity, a lack of enthusiasm, and a lack of courage. As you can see, wholehearted is the opposite of half-hearted.


When Was the Term ‘Wholeheartedly’ Coined?

The origin isn’t entirely clear, but the term may have been used as early as the 17th century.

  • According to Merriam-Webster, which defines wholeheartedness as “completely and sincerely devoted” (to another person, a cause, a task, etc.) the first known use of “wholehearted” was in 1644.
  • According to Dictionary.com, which is based on Random House Unabridged Dictionary, “wholehearted” is an American term that may have originated in the 1830s or 1840s.
  • The Free Dictionary cited Random House, which also placed the origin of the word wholehearted around 1830-1840.
  • According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, the word “wholehearted” originated around 1840.
  • Gary Martin at The Phrase Finder contends that the term derived from “half-hearted,” which came from Medieval times. Martin also agrees that “wholehearted” came from the 19th

Long story short, “wholehearted” is well over 100 years old.


Is There Something You Do ‘Wholeheartedly’?

For me, it’s work and relationships. Whenever someone pays me to do something, I want to put in a full effort because that’s professional, it’s the right thing to do, and the job I do will affect my prospects for future work. When it comes to people, I want to treat people how I would like to be treated.

What about you?


Works Cited

Harper, Douglas. “wholehearted.” Online Etymology Dictionary, https://www.etymonline.com/word/wholehearted. Accessed 14 February 2020.

Martin, Gary. “Half-hearted.” The Phrase Finder, https://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/half-hearted.html. Accessed 9 February 2020.

“Wholehearted | Meaning of Wholehearted by Lexico.” Lexico. Oxford University Press, https://www.lexico.com/definition/wholehearted. Accessed 14 February 2020.

“Wholehearted.” Dictionary.com, https://www.dictionary.com/browse/wholehearted. Accessed 14 February 2020.

“Wholehearted.” Dictionary.com, https://www.dictionary.com/browse/wholehearted. Accessed 14 February 2020.

“Wholehearted.” The Free Dictionary. Farlex, Inc., https://www.thefreedictionary.com/wholehearted. Accessed 14 February 2020.

“Wholehearted.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary. Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wholehearted. Accessed 14 February 2020.

“Wholeheartedly.” The Free Dictionary. Farlex, Inc., https://www.thefreedictionary.com/wholeheartedly. Retrieved 14 February 2020.

“Wholeheartedly.” Dictionary.com, LLC, https://www.dictionary.com/browse/wholeheartedly. Retrieved 1 March 2020.

Have any thoughts on the subject? Time’s yours.

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