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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. The place in a home where a fire is or was traditionally kept for home heating and for cooking, usually constituted by at least a hearthstone and often enclosed to varying degrees by any combination of reredos, fireplace, oven, smoke hood, or chimney.
  2. A hearthstone, either as standalone or as the floor of an enclosed fireplace or oven.
    cooking on an open hearth
    • 1907 August, Robert W[illiam] 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.
  3. A fireplace: an open recess in a wall at the base of a chimney where a fire may be built.
  4. The lowest part of a metallurgical furnace.
  5. A brazier, chafing dish, or firebox.
  6. (figuratively) Home or family life.
  7. (Germanic 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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From Middle English herte, from Old English heorte, from Proto-West Germanic *hertā.



  1. heart

Derived termsEdit


  • Jacob Poole (1867), William Barnes, editor, A Glossary, With some Pieces of Verse, of the old Dialect of the English Colony in the Baronies of Forth and Bargy, County of Wexford, Ireland, London: J. Russell Smith