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From Middle English herth, herthe, from Old English heorþ, from Proto-West Germanic *herþ, possibly from Proto-Indo-European *ker- (heat; fire). Cognate with West Frisian hurd, Dutch haard, German Herd, Swedish härd.



hearth (plural hearths)

  1. A brick, stone or cement floor to a fireplace or oven.
    • 1907, Robert William Chambers, chapter III, in The Younger Set, New York, N.Y.: D. Appleton & Company, OCLC 24962326:
      When the flames at last began to flicker and subside, his lids fluttered, then drooped ; but he had lost all reckoning of time when he opened them again to find Miss Erroll in furs kneeling on the hearth and heaping kindling on the coals, and her pretty little Alsatian maid beside her, laying a log across the andirons.
  2. An open recess in a wall at the base of a chimney where a fire may be built.
    Synonym: fireplace
  3. The lowest part of a metallurgical furnace.
  4. A brazier, chafing dish, or firebox.
  5. (figurative) Home or family life.
  6. (paganism) A household or group in some forms of the modern pagan faith Heathenry.
    • 1996, Vivianne Crowley, Thorsons principles of paganism, page 50:
      Asatru is practised all over Northern Europe and also in North America. Like Druidry, it is organized into bodies with sub-groups, the hearths.
    • 2003 December 8, Robert J. Wallis, Shamans/neo-Shamans: Ecstasy, Alternative Archaeologies, and Contemporary Pagans[1], page 102:
      Smaller localized groups known as 'hearths' meet regularly, and are comparable, in size and function, with a Wiccan 'Coven' or Druidic 'Grove'.
    • 2004 March 1, Peter Clarke, editor, Encyclopedia of New Religious Movements[2], Routledge, page 768:
      Neopagan groups take many forms, from Wiccan covens to Druid groves, from Heathen hearths to magical lodges []

Derived termsEdit


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