To use personal connections to obtain a position: “Pat was officially interviewed for the job, but he also had his uncle pulling strings behind the scenes.” This phrase makes reference to the operation of string-controlled puppets, or marionettes.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
How to use pull strings in a sentence
I had to pull strings to get into his scheme—and was honored when he merely took my phone call.
She was still able to pull strings, and to make her influence felt in various directions.The Magnificent Montez | Horace Wyndham
I want to pull strings, even for somebody else, or be Princetonian chairman or Triangle president.This Side of Paradise | F. Scott Fitzgerald
The bag was suspended around Maria's neck by a leathern thong, and was operated by pull-strings.The Wilderness Trail | Frank Williams
After some anxious thought he decided that it was his duty to try to pull strings.December Love | Robert Hichens
De men folks was put to de post what had holes bored in it whe' dey pull strings through to fasten dem up in dere.Slave Narratives Vol. XIV. South Carolina, Part 2 | Works Projects Administration
Other Idioms and Phrases with pull strings
Also, pull wires. Use one's influence, as in By pulling strings he got us house seats to the opening, or His father pulled some wires and got him out of jail. Both terms allude to manipulating a marionette. The first dates from the second half of the 1800s, the second from the early 1800s.
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.