simple past tense and past participle of unstring.


having the string or strings loosened or removed, as a bow or harp.
weakened or nervously unhinged, as a person or a person's nerves; unnerved; discomposed: The incident left him unstrung.



verb (used with object), un·strung, un·string·ing.

to deprive of strings: to unstring a violin.
to take from a string: to unstring beads.
to loosen the strings of: to unstring a bow.
to relax the tension of.
to relax unduly, or weaken (the nerves).
to weaken the nerves of.

Origin of unstring

First recorded in 1605–15; un-2 + string
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for unstrung

upset, nervous

Examples from the Web for unstrung

Historical Examples of unstrung

  • His mind had long been t a great tension, and this shock had unstrung him.

    Roden's Corner

    Henry Seton Merriman

  • In fact, his nerves were so unstrung that he would not be able to sleep for many hours to come.

    Adrift on the Pacific

    Edward S. Ellis

  • She was sadly confused and unstrung, her thoughts awhirl and nerves ajangle.


    Louis Joseph Vance

  • It should be straight when unstrung, and unstrung when not in use.

    Boy Scouts Handbook

    Boy Scouts of America

  • But you're afraid he did, and that keeps you unstrung and unhappy.

    Mary Louise in the Country

    L. Frank Baum (AKA Edith Van Dyne)

British Dictionary definitions for unstrung



emotionally distressed; unnerved
(of a stringed instrument) with the strings detached


verb -strings, -stringing or -strung (tr)

to remove the strings of
(of beads, pearls, etc) to remove or take from a string
to weaken or enfeeble emotionally (a person or his nerves)
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 unstrung

1590s, "with strings relaxed" (of a harp, etc.), from un- (1) "not" + past participle of string (v.). Transferred sense of "weakened, unnerved" is recorded from 1690s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper