What does the phrase "wear (one's) heart on (one's) sleeve" mean?

I would appreciate if you could also tell me the origin of the same.

closed as off-topic by Edwin Ashworth, Andrew Leach, choster, Benyamin Hamidekhoo, Kristina Lopez Nov 6 '13 at 19:02

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  • 3
    First Google result tells you both: en.wiktionary.org/wiki/wear_one's_heart_on_one's_sleeve – choster Nov 6 '13 at 14:58
  • 2
    To be fair to the OP, the Wiktionary entry you cite lists the earliest recorded use of the phrase in Shakespeare's Othello, but that does not necessarily mean that the passage cited is the origin of the phrase. Shakespeare could have picked it up from daily speech or written sources no longer available to us. Which is just to say, the Othello passage should be called the earliest recorded use of the phrase, not necessarily the origin of the phrase. – Michael Broder Nov 6 '13 at 15:29
  • @Michael Broder: Are you accusing the Bard of plagiarism? – Edwin Ashworth Nov 6 '13 at 15:36
  • @MichaelBroder You are certainly right, and it always good to exercise healthy caution when using WikiAnything. In this case, however, I believe Wiktionary has it right. – choster Nov 6 '13 at 15:42
  • Thank you choster, I did look at the link, however I felt there was more to it and was hoping for some better insights, hence I posted the question here.Thanks – Gurpreet K Sekhon Nov 6 '13 at 16:39

It means simply to be transparent emotionally. When you wear your heart on your sleeve, people can see quite readily what emotions you are feeling because you emote them. In other words, they're as obvious as the sleeves on your shirt (or sweater, or coat, or tunic, or jacket, or whatever).

As for the origin of the phrase, I'll leave that to a colleague who is more astute than I.


When you wear your heart on your sleeves, you don't disguise your emotion, instead you let them expose out in your appearance.

For instance, when you feel happy, the happiness will be indicated all over your face.

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