1. No one believes him because he is false at heart.
  2. No one believes him because he is false of heart.

Is the first statement wrong? What are the differences between 1) and 2)?

My book says 2) is the correct usage. But I have never seen anything like it until now.

2 Answers 2


The first ("at heart") is more idiomatic; although the second ("of heart") is not wrong, and would probably be understood the same way.

One might also say

  • "...because he is false-hearted.
  • ...........* understood
    – Usernew
    Oct 4, 2015 at 10:07
  • is "no one believes in him, because he is false at heart" correct?
    – Usernew
    Oct 4, 2015 at 10:08
  • 1
    I would add that "of heart" has a more formal, old-fashioned feel. "The princess was pure of heart"
    – Jonah
    Oct 4, 2015 at 23:49

Brian Hitchcock is right that both are possible and could be understood the same way.
Here are a couple of real examples:

False at heart:

She said that he was false at heart,
He called her light coquette :
And both exclaimed--"next week we part,
I wish we ne'er had met."
The New English Drama: With Prefactory Remarks, Biographical Sketches, and Notes, Critical and Explanatory
Volume 19, edited by William Oxberry.

False of heart:


O, never say that I was false of heart,
Though absence seem'd my flame to qualify.
As easy might I from myself depart
As from my soul, which in thy breast doth lie.
Shakespeare's Sonnets, edited, with notes by William J. Rolfe. Litt.D., 1883.
(The Sonnets were first published in 1609.)

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