from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The floor of a fireplace, usually extending into a room and paved with brick, flagstone, or cement.
  • n. Family life; the home.
  • n. Metallurgy The lowest part of a blast furnace or cupola, from which the molten metal flows.
  • n. Metallurgy The bottom of a reverberatory furnace, where ore is exposed to the flame.
  • n. The fireplace or brazier of a blacksmith's forge.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A brick, stone or cement floor to a fireplace or oven.
  • n. An open recess in a wall at the base of a chimney where a fire may be built.
  • n. The lowest part of a metallurgical furnace.
  • n. A symbol for home or family life.
  • n. A household or group following the modern pagan faith of Heathenry.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The pavement or floor of brick, stone, or metal in a chimney, on which a fire is made; the floor of a fireplace; also, a corresponding part of a stove.
  • n. The house itself, as the abode of comfort to its inmates and of hospitality to strangers; fireside.
  • n. The floor of a furnace, on which the material to be heated lies, or the lowest part of a melting furnace, into which the melted material settles.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. That part of the floor of a room on which the fire is made, or upon or above which a receptacle for the fire rests: generally a pavement or floor of brick or stone below an opening in the chimney, as in a fireplace.
  • n. The fireside; the domestic circle; the home.
  • n. In metallurgy: The floor in a reverberatory furnace on which the ore is exposed to the flame. See furnace.
  • n. The lowest part of a blast-furnace, through which the metal descends to the crucible. See furnace.
  • n. A bloomery.
  • n. Nautical, the grate and apparatus for cooking on board ship.
  • n. In soldering: An ordinary brazier or chafing-dish containing charcoal.
  • n. An iron box, about 2 feet by 1 foot 6 inches deep, sunk in the middle of a flat iron plate or table, measuring about 4 feet by 3 feet.
  • n. In glass manufacturing See flattening-hearth.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. an area near a fireplace (usually paved and extending out into a room)
  • n. home symbolized as a part of the fireplace
  • n. an open recess in a wall at the base of a chimney where a fire can be built


Middle English herth, from Old English heorth.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Old English heorþ, from Proto-Germanic *herþaz, from Proto-Indo-European *ker- (“heat; fire”). Cognate with Dutch haard, German Herd, Swedish härd. (Wiktionary)



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  • I'm curious.... is there an etymological connection to the word "heart"?

    January 12, 2010