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[hahrt-stringz] /ˈhɑrtˌstrɪŋz/
plural noun
the deepest feelings; the strongest affections:
to tug at one's heartstrings.
Origin of heartstrings
First recorded in 1475-85; heart + strings Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for heartstrings
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Besides, though Cassy had laughed, there had been a tugging at her heartstrings.

    The Paliser case Edgar Saltus
  • Her heartstrings were at a dangerous stretch, she quivering at the point of tears.

    Little Novels of Italy Maurice Henry Hewlett
  • I have had no other success that pulled at my heartstrings like that one.

    My Antonia Willa Cather
  • Instead of this, I have to wait for you, a prey to fears that tear at my heartstrings.

  • The Colonel would have given her his heartstrings if Polly had required them.

    Polly Thomas Nelson Page
  • These three touch the heartstrings; these three picture mankind; these three teach us.

    Perkins of Portland Ellis Parker Butler
  • It is only by the heartstrings that men can be led and women alone can lead them.

    The Monster

    Edgar Saltus
  • Accept my little pres. Play on her heartstrings pursestrings too.

    Ulysses James Joyce
British Dictionary definitions for heartstrings


plural noun
(often facetious) deep emotions or feelings
Word Origin
C15: originally referring to the tendons supposed to support the heart
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for heartstrings

late 15c., originally literal, in old anatomy theory "the tendons and nerves that brace the heart;" from heart + string (n.). Transferred and figurative sense from 1590s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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