Be Still My Heart - Meaning, Origin and Usage

What would be the perfect response to someone declaring their love for you? "Be still my heart" is a great example of the ideal idiom to fit the situation.

Let's unpack everything you need to know about this idiom's origin, meaning, and use in conversation.


"Be still my heart!" is an idiomatic expression referring to your emotional and mental state. When someone gives you good or bad news or witnesses a shocking event, you can use the phrase as an exclamation of your excitement or shock.

The phrase also refers to a state of overwhelming emotions. The speaker may be experiencing something that they find hard to grasp or so shocking that they struggle to place it in a frame of reference. People can use the phrase for various reasons.

One of the more popular uses for "be still my heart" is in a romantic context. The person may say it after a romantic gesture or after experiencing an exciting event.

The phrase also suits sarcastic use. You could say it when you're trying to convey to another person that their actions or words are uncompelling.

Example Usage

"Be still my heart, the Tesla in front of us just careened off the road and into the crash barrier for no reason at all."

"Did you see that 56-yard field goal? Be still my heart; I think we have a chance to win this one."

"You spent the day chilling on the couch? Be still my heart; that sounds like a lot of effort."


Clair: "Lee got down on one knee in front of the whole restaurant and asked me to marry him right there."

Becky: "Be still my heart; that's such a romantic gesture."


The origin of the idiomatic phrase, "be still my heart," traces back to 1697 in the work of the author, John Dryden. The first use of the term appears as "my beating heart." The phrase would appear in poetry and other literary works over the coming centuries.

In 1705, author William Mountfort was the first to use the complete form of the phrase, "Be still, my beating heart." The term would continue in use for many decades until playwrights Gilbert and Sullivan decided to give a new sarcastic and funny spin on it in an 1878 play.

Over the years, the phrase whittled down to "be still my heart." Today, you'll hear people use both the original and the new version of this idiomatic phrase. It's common to find it in movies and TV shows and music lyrics.

Phrases Similar to Be Still My Heart

  • I'm too excited to think right now.
  • Let's amp it up.
  • Ante up.

Phrases Opposite to Be Still My Heart

  • I wish I could get some excitement.

What is the Correct Saying?

  • Be still my heart.
  • Be still my beating heart.

Ways People May Say Be Still My Heart Incorrectly

Some people may use the phrase literally, referring to their heart beating fast or erratically. Typically, the term only has a use for conveying a state of mind or emotional response to what others are telling you. It doesn't refer to the physical action of your heart beating.

Acceptable Ways to Phrase Be Still My Heart

You can use the phrase "be still my heart" in social and professional settings. Typically, you'll say the term as a reaction to someone telling you bad or exciting news. The saying also has sarcastic use in conversation to show your lack of enthusiasm for what people say to you.

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