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1. In accordance with one's deepest feelings or desires. He's not interested in this accounting job because he's an artist at heart.
2. Fundamentally or intrinsically. Nicole is a kind person at heart—you just need to spend some more time with her.
1. Fundamentally, basically, as in He's a good fellow at heart. It was first recorded in Alexander Pope's Epistle to a Lady (1735): "But every Woman is at heart a Rake."
2. In one's deepest feelings, as a great concern, as in The governor has the party's best interests at heart. [Early 1700s]
at ˈheartused to say what somebody is really like even though they may seem to be different: He seems strict but he’s a very kind man at heart. OPPOSITE: on the surface
In one's deepest feelings; fundamentally.