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 pull strings

string

/ (strɪŋ) /

noun

verb strings, stringing or strung (strʌŋ)

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 pull strings
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Culture definitions for pull strings

pull strings

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.

Idioms and Phrases with pull strings

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.

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.