Hearts (suit)

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Ace of Hearts
German pattern set of Hearts

Hearts (French: Cœur, German: Herz) is one of the four suits in playing cards of both the French deck and the German deck. However, the symbol is slightly different: Symbol: Herz in a French deck and Symbol: Herz in a German-suited deck.

In Bridge, for which in Germany the French deck is common, it is called by its French name, Cœur. In games using German-suited cards the suit of Hearts is often called "Red" (Rot).

In the Swiss-German deck the suit of Hearts is replaced by the suit of Roses RosendeutschschweizerBlatt.svg. The roses are usually depicted in yellow.


The origin of the term "heart" to describe the symbol, which only very marginally resembles a true heart, is not known.[1] In general, equivalents in other languages also mean "heart".


The first playing cards published in Europe did not have any of the suits encountered in modern French suited-decks. Latin suits (Batons, Coins, Swords and Cups) may have been adapted from card games in the Muslim world.[2][3] French suits were introduced by French playing-card makers at the end of the 15th century[4], probably by adapting Germanic suits (Acorns, Bells, Leaves and Hearts).

French retailers produced a simpler design compared with the earlier suits, allowing easier reproduction and therefore a lower manufacturing cost. The sign of heart is taken from the Germanic suits, but has been greatly simplified.[3].


The heart typically has a form of cardioid, the lower part of which ends in a point. The symbol is drawn with its tip down, the two lobes of the cardioid pointing upwards. Generally, the hearts are coloured red.

French pattern[edit]

The following gallery shows the hearts of a 52-card deck of French playing cards. Not shown is the Knight of Hearts, used in tarot card games:

German pattern[edit]

The gallery below shows a suit of Hearts from a German suited deck of 32 cards. The pack is of the Saxonian pattern:


The symbol ♥ is already in the CP437 and therefore also in the WGL4. In Unicode, a black heart ♥ and a white ♡ heart are defined:

Symbol Unicode Entity in HTML
U+2665 BLACK HEART SUIT ♥ or ♥
Example from Dingbats for one of the other forms of heart:

In the game of Watten, the King of Hearts is the highest Trump.


  1. ^ K. McDonell (13 February 2007). "The Shape of My Heart - Where did the ubiquitous Valentine's symbol come from?". Slate.
  2. ^ "How did they evolve? Cultural diversity & localisation". The World of Playing Cards.
  3. ^ a b "An Introduction to Playing Cards". Playing Cards.
  4. ^ "Games played with French suited cards". pagat.com.