Meaning of heartstring in English:


Pronunciation /ˈhɑːtstrɪŋ/


usually heartstrings
  • Used in reference to one's deepest feelings of love or compassion.

    ‘the kitten's pitiful little squeak tugged at her heartstrings’
    • ‘the romance fails to tweak the heartstrings even a little’
    • ‘It certainly shouldn't tug at the heartstrings, satisfy the mind and thrill visually all at the same time.’
    • ‘Has the world cottoned on to my gentle wit, my innate sense of style, or my ability to tug at the emotional heartstrings so dextrously?’
    • ‘Ned felt something tug at his heartstrings, sympathy overwhelming him.’
    • ‘Even though she was trying to tug on Gilligan's heartstrings, her feelings were a mirror of his own.’
    • ‘She had never seen this side of him before and she felt a tug at her heartstrings which alarmed her quite a bit.’
    • ‘I am sick of hearing those socialist MPs playing the heartstrings on the subject of drinking.’
    • ‘Some beggars operating in Swindon already use hard luck tales, often creating elaborate stories and faking emotion to tug at the heartstrings.’
    • ‘The innocence pulled at the heartstrings as one imagined children, families, and friends who had lost their loved ones in a cruel way.’
    • ‘It was clearly designed to tug the heartstrings, but the audience's only interest was in whether her nose was up to the job.’
    • ‘It's not all brooding insolence though, there are glorious, uplifting love songs that pluck playfully at your heartstrings.’


Late Middle English (originally in sense ‘cordlike structure attached to the heart’): from heart + string.