Bless your heart

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"Bless your heart" is a phrase that is common in the Southern United States.[1][2][3] The phrase has multiple meanings. It can be used as a sincere expression of sympathy or genuine concern. It can be used as a precursor to an insult to soften the blow. It is also sometimes used to mean "you are dumb or otherwise impaired, but you can't help it" by individuals who wish to "be sweet” and do not wish to "act ugly".[4][5]

Notable examples[edit]

In 2016, Nikki Haley, then governor of South Carolina, received extensive press coverage for saying the phrase in response to an attack by presidential candidate Donald Trump.[6][7][8]

Speaking about ex-husband Ben Affleck's large back tattoo of a rising phoenix, Jennifer Garner said, "You know what we would say in my hometown about that? 'Bless his heart.'"[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ by S. Kelley Harrell (2011-06-05). "Reclaiming 'Bless Your Heart' As the Southern 'Namaste'". Retrieved 2016-03-02.
  2. ^ "Aw, Bless Her Heart : Your Southern Decoder Explaining "bless your heart" and everything else". Retrieved 2016-03-02.
  3. ^ "'Bless your heart' and 14 other southern sayings yankees just don't understand". Retrieved 2016-03-02.
  4. ^ Dyer, Candace (1 November 2012). "Your Southern Decoder". Atlanta Magazine. Retrieved 12 April 2016.
  5. ^ Norling, Hannah (22 July 2015). "The Northern Southerner: Bless My Heart?". Southern Living. Retrieved 12 April 2016.
  6. ^ Politics. "Nikki Haley dismisses Donald Trump". Business Insider. Retrieved 2016-03-02.
  7. ^ Krieg, Gregory. "Nikki Haley response to Trump attack: 'Bless your heart' -". Retrieved 2016-03-02.
  8. ^ Gass, Nick. "Nikki Haley to Donald Trump: 'Bless your heart'". Retrieved 2016-03-02.
  9. ^ Smith, Krista (February 26, 2016). "Exclusive: Jennifer Garner's Frank Talk About Kids, Men, and Ben Affleck". Vanity Fair. Retrieved 22 December 2016.