Nearby words

  1. strimmer,
  2. strimon,
  3. strindberg,
  4. strindberg, johan august,
  5. strine,
  6. string along,
  7. string bag,
  8. string band,
  9. string bass,
  10. string bean

Idioms

    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,
    1. to use one's influence or authority, usually in secret, in order to bring about a desired result.
    2. 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

before 900; (noun) Middle English string, streng, Old English streng; cognate with Dutch streng, German Strang; akin to Latin stringere to bind; (v.) late Middle English stringen to string a bow, derivative of the noun

Related formsstring·less, adjectivestring·like, adjectivere·string, verb, re·strung, re·string·ing.

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


British Dictionary definitions for on a string

string

noun

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)
  1. violins, violas, cellos, and double basses collectively
  2. the section of a symphony orchestra constituted by such instruments

verb strings, stringing or strung (strʌŋ)

(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)
Derived Formsstringlike, adjective

Word Origin for string

Old English streng; related to Old High German strang, Old Norse strengr; see strong

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

Word Origin and History for on a string
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with on a string

on a string

Under someone's control, as in She'll drop everything whenever Sam asks for something—he's got her on a string. This expression, alluding to pulling an animal on a leash, dates from the late 1500s, when it was put as in a string.

string

In addition to the idioms beginning with string

  • string along
  • string out
  • strings attached
  • string together
  • string up

also see:

  • harp on (one string)
  • no strings attached
  • on a shoestring
  • on a string
  • pull strings
  • purse strings
  • tied to apron strings
  • two strings to one's bow
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.