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To have a heart

Idiom: To have a heart; used as a verb


Maria: Look at these adorable puppies my
friend posted on facebook. They’re looking for homes. Maybe we should adopt one?
Neil: We don’t need a dog.
Maria: Why not? They’re so adorable, and
they need homes. And I have been thinking a pet could be fun.
Neil: I don’t know.
Maria: Oh, have a heart. At least go look at them with me and think about it.
They need homes, and we have one.
Neil: OK, we can go see the puppies tomorrow, but I’m not promising anything.

Meaning: The expression “have
a heart
” means to be compassionate, generous or forgiving. In the
example above, Maria tells Neil to “have
a heart
” when he initially rejects her suggestion that they adopt a
puppy. This imperative usage (telling someone to do something) is one of the
most common ways to use this idiom. When a person rejects something that is compassionate, generous or forgiving, someone else might say “have a heart;” this suggests that
the person should reconsider.

In addition to the imperative usage
above, the idiom is also often used with the word “if,” as in the
following example:

Christine: I know you’re
still mad at Daniel for scratching your car, but he apologized and offered to
pay for it. 

Thomas: I know, but it
was really irresponsible of him.
Christine: If you had a heart, you would just forgive
Daniel and move on.

Meaning: In this case, saying “if you had a heart” is
almost a challenge, telling someone that they need to be more compassionate,
generous or forgiving (as in this specific example).

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