Forgotten Words

Forgotten Words #8 Heart’s Attorney

Heart’s Attorney [noun] Tongue.


Forgotten Words


Simple enough, but the connotation of the phrase is interesting. The tongue is credited with, in this case, controlling what is said in much the same way that an attorney controls what a defendant says.


I wanted to express my distaste at my love’s choice of music, but my heart’s attorney forbade me from doing so, lest our two-hour journey drag on in silence. 


Kacirk, Jeffrey. The Word Museum: The Most Remarkable English Ever Forgotten. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2000. 91. Print.

  • Today I Learned:

    ‘The words that Miss Meaks uttered in return for his were only of that social cast which is characterized by the meeting of friends, but their confiding tone and feeling delivery inspired new confidence in his “heart’s attorney,” and added fresh fuel to that smouldering spark which no draught could ever have extinguished.’

    The Balsam Groves of the Grandather Mountain, Shepherd Dugger, 1892 edition. The authorial quotation marks would seem to imply that by 1892 the expression was on its way out.

    • Matthew Travagline

      Indeed all of my forgotten words have no doubt slipped into the nethers of English. But as you pointed out, an 1892 version indicates that this word is at least 220+ years beyond its term.

      I still like it though. It’s a little odd and funky. Obviously it is not a replacement for tongue. You wouldn’t say that you run your heart’t attorney over your teeth, but mulling over a retort or whether to call a certain someone might dictate its usage.