at great tension; highly excitable or nervous; edgy: high-strung nerves; a high-strung person.

Origin of high-strung

First recorded in 1740–50

Synonyms for high-strung

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for high-strung

excitable, restless, edgy, impatient, tense

Examples from the Web for high-strung

Contemporary Examples of high-strung

Historical Examples of high-strung

  • We never could get along together at all, because he is so high-strung and overbearing.

    The Little Colonel

    Annie Fellows Johnston

  • Though still slight of build I was wiry, high-strung and quick of movement.

    The Harbor

    Ernest Poole

  • It was eloquent, vibrating with eloquence, but too high-strung, I think.

    Heart of Darkness

    Joseph Conrad

  • Starbright was right in saying Dade Morgan was proud and high-strung.

  • The high-strung gaiety, the drinking, the overtranking, the relaxation of mores.


    Dallas McCord Reynolds

Word Origin and History for high-strung

also high strung, 1848 in the figurative sense, from high (adj.) + strung. Originally a musical term, with reference to stringed instruments, where it is attested from 1748.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper