Heart Symbol

While playing a game of Cranium the other day, our competition was asked to draw out clues for the phrase “heartburn”. However, it is forbidden in the rules to draw any symbols or letters when trying to draw out the clue. For the “burn” part, the artist drew a campfire, but for the heart, the artist drew a very common “Valentine’s Day” heart. I claim that this is a symbolic representation of a heart, whereas our competition complained that the picture that was drawn WAS a heart and NOT a symbol (again, against the rules). So, who’s right?

I’d say you were absolutely right, sir viks, and the competition should take a point or whatever off. Maybe even buy th’ next round.

The “Valentine-style” heart is a well-established symbol, of long standing. See How come Valentine hearts don’t look anything like real hearts?

I’m not familiar with the rules of Cranium, but most games of this type define “symbols” as those appearing on a standard keyboard or typewriter. Otherwise, you could argue that almost anything that is drawn is a symbol. I would allow a heart of this type.

I’ve played Cranium and I think the ‘symbols’ part of the rules is too vaguely worded. In this case, I would probably allow the heart, but yeah, it’s probably breaking the rules.

Pictures are symbolic representations…

I think it’s quite borderline. That heart shape is considered a heart. If I saw one, I woudlnt’ say “Oh, look, a symbol of a heart!”, I’d say “Look, a heart!”

Just looking up the definitions for “symbol” in Merriam-Webster:


1 : an authoritative summary of faith or doctrine : CREED
2 : something that stands for or suggests something else by reason of relationship, association, convention, or accidental resemblance; especially : a visible sign of something invisible <the lion is a symbol of courage>
3 : an arbitrary or conventional sign used in writing or printing relating to a particular field to represent operations, quantities, elements, relations, or qualities
4 : an object or act representing something in the unconscious mind that has been repressed <phallic symbols>
**5 : an act, sound, or object having cultural significance and the capacity to excite or objectify a response **

(bolding mine)

If you were to actually attempt a drawing of an anatomically correct heart, that wouldn’t be a symbol, in the strictest sense, yet it represents a heart, as sleeping referred to. Still, because a Valentine Heart has “cultural significance, the capacity to excite or objectify a response”, I’d go with it being a bona fide symbol. And a darn easy way to get a clue across in Cranium, surely, if it were actually allowed.

Methinks Desmond Morris is a bit too obssed with women’s buttocks. Somebody better call the funny farm.

According to Dave Barry, it’s a prostate.

I cannot verify any of this, but I have a friend who delivers a standard Valentine’s day message to his classes every year who claims that the “heart” is actually a vulva and I leave you to guess what he claims Cupid’s arrow is. While this sounds plausible, I cannot verify it. In any case, I think it is correct that the heart shape symbolizes rather than represents a heart.