What does “absence makes the heart grow fonder” mean?

Discover the definition and origin of the English proverb 'Absence makes the heart grow fonder' and how it relates to longing and appreciation in various literary works and media.

Understanding the Phrase

Definition and Meaning

“Absence makes the heart grow fonder” is an English proverb that means that people tend to long for or miss someone or something more when they are away from them for a period of time.

This phrase is often used to describe the feeling of increased affection or appreciation that people have for someone or something when they are separated from them.

Origin and History

The origin of this phrase is not entirely clear, but it is believed to have been popularized by the English songwriter Thomas Haynes Bayly in his work “Isle of Beauty.” This work was published in 1850 and contained the phrase in the last line of a song.

However, the sentiment expressed by the phrase has been around for centuries, with similar ideas appearing in the works of ancient Roman poet Sextus Propertius in his “Elegies.”

Literary Usage

This phrase has been used in literature and popular culture throughout the years, often to describe the feeling of longing that people experience when they are separated from someone or something they love.

For example, in “The Pocket Magazine of Classic and Polite Literature” from 1832, a Miss Stickland wrote, “Tis absence, however, that makes the heart grow fonder.” This phrase has also been used in various forms of media, including movies, TV shows, and songs.

Examples

  • After spending a year abroad, Sarah realized that absence makes the heart grow fonder, and she missed her family and friends more than ever.
  • John was skeptical when his girlfriend told him that she needed some time apart, but he soon realized that absence makes the heart grow fonder, and he missed her more than he ever thought possible.
  • When Jane’s cat went missing, she was devastated. However, after several days of searching, she realized that absence makes the heart grow fonder, and she appreciated her cat more than ever.

Synonyms

  • Distance makes the heart grow fonder
  • Out of sight, out of mind
  • Separation anxiety