heart of oak

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heart of oak

A trait said to belong to a very emotionally and/or mentally strong person. I don't know how a soldier does it—they must have a heart of oak. My brother has a heart of oak and has remained totally calm while coping with his wife's sudden illness.
See also: heart, oak, of
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

heart of oak

a courageous nature.
Literally, the heart is the solid central part of the oak tree traditionally used for timber for ships. The phrase was popularized by the words of an 18th-century song: ‘Heart of oak are our ships, Heart of oak are our men’.
See also: heart, oak, of
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
See also:
References in classic literature ?
I will put my faith in the good knight whose axe hath rent heart-of-oak and bars of iron.