Trigger a feeling or memory, as in That poem strikes a chord in all those touched by the Holocaust. This term alludes to striking the strings or keys of a musical instrument. [First half of 1800s] Also see strike the right note.
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.