a. The floor of a fireplace, usually extending into a room and paved with brick, flagstone, or cement.
b. A fireplace: a blazing fire in the hearth.
2. Family life; the home.
a. The lowest part of a blast furnace or cupola, from which the molten metal flows.
b. The bottom of a reverberatory furnace, where ore is exposed to the flame.
4. The fireplace or brazier of a blacksmith's forge.
[Middle English herth, from Old English heorth; see ker-3 in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
(click for a larger image)hearth
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.