- a slender cord or thick thread used for binding or tying; line.
- something resembling a cord or thread.
- Also called cosmic string. Physics. a mathematical entity used to represent elementary particles, as gravitons, quarks, or leptons, in terms of a small but finite stringlike object existing in the four dimensions of spacetime and in additional, hypothetical, spacelike dimensions. The theory of such objects (string theory) avoids the many mathematical difficulties that arise from treating particles as points.
- a narrow strip of flexible material, as cloth or leather, for tying parts together: the strings of a bonnet.
- a necklace consisting of a number of beads, pearls, or the like threaded or strung on a cord; strand: She wore a double string of pearls.
- any series of things arranged or connected in a line or following closely one after another: a string of islands; a string of questions.
- a series of railroad cars coupled together but not constituting an entire train.
- Journalism. a compilation of clippings of a stringer's published writings, submitted in request of payment according to an agreed space rate.
- a group of animals, especially saddle horses, owned or used by one person: a string of polo ponies.
- (in a musical instrument) a tightly stretched cord or wire that produces a tone when caused to vibrate, as by plucking, striking, or friction of a bow.
- stringed instruments, especially those played with a bow.
- players on such instruments in an orchestra or band.
- a bowstring.
- a cord or fiber in a plant.
- the tough piece uniting the two parts of a pod: the strings of beans.
- Computers, Linguistics. a linear sequence of symbols, words, characters, or bits that is treated as a unit.
- Billiards, Pool.
- a stroke made by each player from the head of the table to the opposite cushion and back, to determine, by means of the resultant positions of the cue balls, who shall open the game.
- Also called string line.a line from behind which the cue ball is placed after being out of play.
- a complement of contestants or players grouped as a squad in accordance with their skill: He made the second string on the football team.
- Usually strings. conditions or limitations on a proposal: a generous offer with no strings attached.
- Obsolete. a ligament, nerve, or the like in an animal body.
- to furnish with or as with a string or strings: to string a bonnet; to string a bow.
- to extend or stretch (a cord, thread, etc.) from one point to another.
- to thread on or as on a string: to string beads.
- to connect in or as in a line; arrange in a series or succession: She knows how to string words together.
- to adjust the string of (a bow) or tighten the strings of (a musical instrument) to the required pitch.
- to equip (a bow or instrument) with new strings.
- to provide or adorn with something suspended or slung: a room strung with festoons.
- to deprive of a string or strings; strip the strings from: to string beans.
- to make tense, as the sinews, nerves, mind, etc.
- to kill by hanging (usually followed by up).
- Slang. to fool or hoax.
- to form into or move in a string or series: The ideas string together coherently.
- to form into a string or strings, as a glutinous substance does when pulled: Good taffy doesn't break—it strings.
- string along, Informal.
- to be in agreement; follow with confidence: He found he couldn't string along with all their modern notions.
- to keep (a person) waiting or in a state of uncertainty.
- to deceive; cheat; trick.
- string out,
- to extend; stretch out: The parade strung out for miles.
- to prolong: The promised three days strung out to six weeks.
- on a/the string, Informal. subject to the whim of another; in one's power; dependent: After keeping me on a string for two months, they finally hired someone else.
- pull strings/wires,
- to use one's influence or authority, usually in secret, in order to bring about a desired result.
- to gain or attempt to gain one's objectives by means of influential friends, associates, etc.: He had his uncle pull strings to get him a promotion.
Origin of string
- a slender, stringlike piece or filament of relatively rigid or flexible metal, usually circular in section, manufactured in a great variety of diameters and metals depending on its application.
- such pieces as a material.
- a length of such material, consisting either of a single filament or of several filaments woven or twisted together and usually insulated with a dielectric material, used as a conductor of electricity.
- a cross wire or a cross hair.
- a barbed-wire fence.
- a long wire or cable used in cable, telegraph, or telephone systems.
- Nautical. a wire rope.
- a telegram.
- the telegraphic system: to send a message by wire.
- wires, a system of wires by which puppets are moved.
- a metallic string of a musical instrument.
- Underworld Slang. the member of a pickpocket team who picks the victim's pocket.Compare stall2(def 5).
- Horse Racing. a wire stretched across and above the track at the finish line, under which the horses pass.
- Ornithology. one of the extremely long, slender, wirelike filaments or shafts of the plumage of various birds.
- a metal device for snaring rabbits and other small game.
- Papermaking. the woven wire mesh over which the wet pulp is spread in a papermaking machine.
- the wire, the telephone: There's someone on the wire for you.
- made of wire; consisting of or constructed with wires.
- resembling wire; wirelike.
- to furnish with wires.
- to install an electric system of wiring in, as for lighting.
- to fasten or bind with wire: He wired the halves together.
- to put on a wire, as beads.
- to send by telegraph, as a message: Please wire the money at once.
- to send a telegraphic message to: She wired him to come at once.
- to snare by means of a wire.
- to equip with a hidden electronic device, as an eavesdropping device or an explosive.
- to connect (a receiver, area, or building) to a television cable and other equipment so that cable television programs may be received.
- Informal. to be closely connected or involved with: a law firm wired into political circles.
- Informal. to prepare, equip, fix, or arrange to suit needs or goals: The sales force was wired for an all-out effort.
- Croquet. to block (a ball) by placing it behind the wire of an arch.
- to send a telegraphic message; telegraph: Don't write; wire.
- down to the wire, to the very last moment or the very end, as in a race or competition: The candidates campaigned down to the wire.
- pull wires, Informal. to use one's position or influence to obtain a desired result: to pull wires to get someone a job.
- under the wire, just within the limit or deadline; scarcely; barely: to get an application in under the wire.
Origin of wire
- a slender flexible strand or rod of metal
- a cable consisting of several metal strands twisted together
- a flexible metallic conductor, esp one made of copper, usually insulated, and used to carry electric current in a circuit
- (modifier) of, relating to, or made of wirea wire fence; a wire stripper
- anything made of wire, such as wire netting, a barbed wire fence, etc
- a long continuous wire or cable connecting points in a telephone or telegraph system
- a metallic string on a guitar, piano, etc
- horse racing, mainly US and Canadian the finishing line on a racecourse
- a wire-gauze screen upon which pulp is spread to form paper during the manufacturing process
- anything resembling a wire, such as a hair
- a snare made of wire for rabbits and similar animals
- to the wire or down to the wire informal right up to the last moment
- get in under the wire informal, mainly US and Canadian to accomplish something with little time to spare
- get one's wires crossed informal to misunderstand
- pull wires mainly US and Canadian to exert influence behind the scenes, esp through personal connections; pull strings
- take it to the wire to compete to the bitter end to win a competition or title
- (also intr) to send a telegram to (a person or place)
- to send (news, a message, etc) by telegraph
- to equip (an electrical system, circuit, or component) with wires
- to fasten or furnish with wire
- (often foll by up) to provide (an area) with fibre optic cabling to receive cable television
- to string (beads, etc) on wire
- croquet to leave (a player's ball) so that a hoop or peg lies between it and the other balls
- to snare with wire
- wire in informal to set about (something, esp food) with enthusiasm
- a thin length of cord, twine, fibre, or similar material used for tying, hanging, binding, etc
- a group of objects threaded on a single stranda string of beads
- a series or succession of things, events, acts, utterances, etca string of oaths
- a number, chain, or group of similar things, animals, etc, owned by or associated with one person or bodya string of girlfriends
- a tough fibre or cord in a plantthe string of an orange; the string of a bean
- music a tightly stretched wire, cord, etc, found on stringed instruments, such as the violin, guitar, and piano
- short for bowstring
- architect short for string course, stringer (def. 1)
- maths linguistics a sequence of symbols or words
- linguistics a linear sequence, such as a sentence as it is spoken
- physics a one-dimensional entity postulated to be a fundamental component of matter in some theories of particle physicsSee also cosmic string
- billiards another word for lag 1 (def. 6)
- a group of characters that can be treated as a unit by a computer program
- (plural) complications or conditions (esp in the phrase no strings attached)
- (modifier) composed of stringlike strands woven in a large mesha string bag; string vest
- keep on a string to have control or a hold over (a person), esp emotionally
- pull strings informal to exert personal influence, esp secretly or unofficially
- pull the strings to have real or ultimate control of something
- second string a person or thing regarded as a secondary source of strength
- the strings (plural)
- violins, violas, cellos, and double basses collectively
- the section of a symphony orchestra constituted by such instruments
- (tr) to provide with a string or strings
- (tr) to suspend or stretch from one point to another
- (tr) to thread on a string
- (tr) to form or extend in a line or series
- (foll by out) to space or spread out at intervals
- (tr usually foll by up) informal to kill (a person) by hanging
- (tr) to remove the stringy parts from (vegetables, esp beans)
- (intr) (esp of viscous liquids) to become stringy or ropey
- (tr often foll by up) to cause to be tense or nervous
- billiards another word for lag 1 (def. 3)
Word Origin and History for pull wires
Old English wir "metal drawn out into a thread," from Proto-Germanic *wiraz (cf. Old Norse viravirka "filigree work," Swedish vira "to twist," Old High German wiara "fine gold work"), from PIE *wei- "to turn, twist, plait" (cf. Old Irish fiar, Welsh gwyr "bent, crooked;" Latin viere "to bend, twist," viriæ "bracelets," of Celtic origin). Wiretapping is recorded from 1904, from earlier wiretapper (1893). Wirepuller in the political sense is 1848, American English.
Old English streng "line, cord, thread," from Proto-Germanic *strangiz (cf. Old Norse strengr, Danish streng, Middle Dutch strenge, Dutch streng, Old High German strang, German Strang "rope, cord"), from *strang- "taut, stiff," from PIE root *strenk- "tight, narrow; pull tight, twist" (see strain). Gradually restricted by early Middle English to lines that are smaller than a rope. Sense of "a number of objects arranged in a line" first recorded late 15c.
Old English meaning "ligaments, tendons" is preserved in hamstring, heartstrings. Meaning "limitations, stipulations" (1888) is American English, probably from the common April Fool's joke of leaving a purse that looks full of money on the sidewalk, then tugging it away with an attached string when someone stoops to pick it up. To pull strings "control the course of affairs" (1860) is from the notion of puppet theater. First string, second string, etc. in athletics (1863) is from archers' custom of carrying spare bowstrings in the event that one breaks. Strings "stringed instruments" is attested from mid-14c. String bean is from 1759; string bikini is from 1974.
c.1400, "to fit a bow with a string," from string (n.). Meaning "to thread (beads, etc.) on a string" is from 1610s. To string (someone) along is slang from 1902; string (v.) in this sense is attested in British dialect from c.1812.
Idioms and Phrases with pull wires
see pull strings.