View synonyms for string


[ string ]


  1. a slender cord or thick thread used for binding or tying; line.
  2. something resembling a cord or thread.
  3. Also called cosmic string. Physics. a mathematical entity used to represent elementary particles, as gravitons, quarks, or leptons, in terms of a small but finite stringlike object existing in the four dimensions of spacetime and in additional, hypothetical, spacelike dimensions. The theory of such objects string theory avoids the many mathematical difficulties that arise from treating particles as points.
  4. a narrow strip of flexible material, as cloth or leather, for tying parts together:

    the strings of a bonnet.

  5. a necklace consisting of a number of beads, pearls, or the like threaded or strung on a cord; strand:

    She wore a double string of pearls.

  6. any series of things arranged or connected in a line or following closely one after another: a string of questions.

    a string of islands;

    a string of questions.

  7. a series of railroad cars coupled together but not constituting an entire train.
  8. Journalism. a compilation of clippings of a stringer's published writings, submitted in request of payment according to an agreed space rate.
  9. a group of animals, especially saddle horses, owned or used by one person:

    a string of polo ponies.

  10. (in a musical instrument) a tightly stretched cord or wire that produces a tone when caused to vibrate, as by plucking, striking, or friction of a bow.
  11. strings,
    1. stringed instruments, especially those played with a bow.
    2. players on such instruments in an orchestra or band.
  12. a cord or fiber in a plant.
  13. the tough piece uniting the two parts of a pod:

    the strings of beans.

  14. Architecture.
    1. Also called stringer. one of the sloping sides of a stair, supporting the treads and risers.
  15. Computers, Linguistics. a linear sequence of symbols, words, characters, or bits that is treated as a unit.
  16. Billiards, Pool.
    1. a stroke made by each player from the head of the table to the opposite cushion and back, to determine, by means of the resultant positions of the cue balls, who shall open the game.
    2. Also called string line. a line from behind which the cue ball is placed after being out of play.
  17. a complement of contestants or players grouped as a squad in accordance with their skill:

    He made the second string on the football team.

  18. Usually strings. conditions or limitations on a proposal:

    a generous offer with no strings attached.

  19. Obsolete. a ligament, nerve, or the like in an animal body.

verb (used with object)

strung or (Rare) stringedstrungstringing
  1. to furnish with or as with a string or strings: to string a bow.

    to string a bonnet;

    to string a bow.

  2. to extend or stretch (a cord, thread, etc.) from one point to another.
  3. to thread on or as on a string:

    to string beads.

  4. to connect in or as in a line; arrange in a series or succession:

    She knows how to string words together.

  5. Music.
    1. to adjust the string of (a bow) or tighten the strings of (a musical instrument) to the required pitch.
    2. to equip (a bow or instrument) with new strings.
  6. to provide or adorn with something suspended or slung:

    a room strung with festoons.

  7. to deprive of a string or strings; strip the strings from:

    to string beans.

  8. to make tense, as the sinews, nerves, mind, etc.
  9. to kill by hanging (usually followed by up ).
  10. Slang. to fool or hoax.

verb (used without object)

stringingstrungstrung or (Rare) stringed
  1. to form into or move in a string or series:

    The ideas string together coherently.

  2. to form into a string or strings, as a glutinous substance does when pulled:

    Good taffy doesn't break—it strings.

  3. lag. Billiards, Pool. to strike a cue ball to determine the order of play.

verb phrase

  1. Informal.
    1. to be in agreement; follow with confidence:

      He found he couldn't string along with all their modern notions.

    2. to keep (a person) waiting or in a state of uncertainty.
    3. to deceive; cheat; trick.
    1. to extend; stretch out:

      The parade strung out for miles.

    2. to prolong:

      The promised three days strung out to six weeks.


/ strɪŋ /


  1. a thin length of cord, twine, fibre, or similar material used for tying, hanging, binding, etc
  2. a group of objects threaded on a single strand

    a string of beads

  3. a series or succession of things, events, acts, utterances, etc

    a string of oaths

  4. a number, chain, or group of similar things, animals, etc, owned by or associated with one person or body

    a string of girlfriends

  5. a tough fibre or cord in a plant

    the string of a bean

    the string of an orange

  6. music a tightly stretched wire, cord, etc, found on stringed instruments, such as the violin, guitar, and piano
  7. short for bowstring
  8. architect short for string course stringer
  9. maths linguistics a sequence of symbols or words
  10. linguistics a linear sequence, such as a sentence as it is spoken
  11. physics a one-dimensional entity postulated to be a fundamental component of matter in some theories of particle physics See also cosmic string
  12. billiards another word for lag 1
  13. a group of characters that can be treated as a unit by a computer program
  14. plural complications or conditions (esp in the phrase no strings attached )
  15. modifier composed of stringlike strands woven in a large mesh

    a string bag

    string vest

  16. keep on a string
    to have control or a hold over (a person), esp emotionally
  17. pull strings informal.
    to exert personal influence, esp secretly or unofficially
  18. pull the strings
    to have real or ultimate control of something
  19. second string
    a person or thing regarded as a secondary source of strength
  20. the strings
    1. violins, violas, cellos, and double basses collectively
    2. the section of a symphony orchestra constituted by such instruments
“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


  1. tr to provide with a string or strings
  2. tr to suspend or stretch from one point to another
  3. tr to thread on a string
  4. tr to form or extend in a line or series
  5. foll by out to space or spread out at intervals
  6. informal.
    trusually foll byup to kill (a person) by hanging
  7. tr to remove the stringy parts from (vegetables, esp beans)
  8. intr (esp of viscous liquids) to become stringy or ropey
  9. troften foll byup to cause to be tense or nervous
  10. billiards another word for lag 1
“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
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Derived Forms

  • ˈstringˌlike, adjective
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Other Words From

  • string·less adjective
  • string·like adjective
  • re·string verb restrung restringing
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Word History and Origins

Origin of string1

First recorded before 900; (for the noun) Middle English string, streng, Old English streng; cognate with Dutch streng, German Strang, Old Norse strengr; akin to Latin stringere “to bind, tie”; (for the verb) late Middle English stringen “to string a bow,” derivative of the noun; stringent ( def )
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Word History and Origins

Origin of string1

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

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

More idioms and phrases containing string

  • 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
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Example Sentences

You “gather string,” as we say, and hope the right moment comes.

Suddenly, these founders are awash in gobs of money with few strings attached, leaving them under no particular pressure to follow through on their plans.

From Fortune

In 2014, thousands of people occupied streets to protest a long-awaited plan for universal voting that came with too many strings attached.

From Quartz

The random forcing can show you what strings are in the piano.

GC376 works by preventing a key enzyme called M protease, which is found in a number of different coronaviruses, from chopping up long strings of viral proteins.

The plot was a string of anecdotes from the senseless shootings of friends that Brinsley knew.

And the string of episodes that aired before that were gripping, noble, and simply entertaining to watch.

A cold salad with French string beans is the perfect counterpoint.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add the string beans.

Toss the string beans and mesclun with enough dressing to moisten.

Aristide replaced the baby, and with a complicated arrangement of string fastened it securely to the seat.

Who has patience for the recapitulation of a string of names, when a group of faces may be placed simultaneously before him?

This harmless image of a fierce beast Yung Pak would pull about the floor with a string by the hour.

She plays with Captain Lovelock as a child does with a wooden harlequin, she pulls a string and he throws up his arms and legs.

He could lie in bed and string himself tales of travel and adventure while Harry was downstairs.


Related Words

Definitions and idiom definitions from Unabridged, based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

Idioms from The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.




strinestring along