heart·​string | \ ˈhärt-ˌstriŋ How to pronounce heartstring (audio) \

Definition of heartstring

1 obsolete : a nerve once believed to sustain the heart
2 : the deepest emotions or affections usually used in plural That movie really pulls at your heartstrings.

Synonyms for heartstring


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Heartstring Has a Medical History

Before a love song could tug at your heartstrings, the job was more likely to be accomplished by a surgeon: the word heartstring used to refer to a nerve believed to sustain the heart. You might recognize the word's second syllable in hamstring, which refers to both a group of tendons at the back of the knee and to any of three muscles at the backs of the upper legs. It's also apparent in a rare dialect term for the Achilles tendon: heel string. And in light of these terms, it's not surprising to know that string itself was at one time used independently to refer to bodily cords like tendons and ligaments.

Examples of heartstring in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Is Us story editor Laura Kenar, who wrote this heartstring-yanker of an episode. Dan Snierson, EW.com, 24 Mar. 2021 From Alicia Keys and Boyz II Men to Demi Lovato, performances at the 62nd Grammy Awards tugged at our heartstrings. Hannah Yasharoff, USA TODAY, 29 Jan. 2020 Andreas RentzGetty Images Lana Del Rey is known for making music that tugs at the heartstrings. Bianca Rodriguez, Marie Claire, 26 Jan. 2020 The Giants, who are experts at using history to tug at the fans’ heartstrings, were planning something special at Oracle Park for their home opener against the Dodgers, which was to be Friday. Henry Schulman, SFChronicle.com, 2 Apr. 2020 Just like the movie, the live production tugs at heartstrings and features both emotional and laugh-out-loud moments. Melody Chiu, PEOPLE.com, 18 Dec. 2019 Meanwhile, a gentle and sparse soundtrack from the avant garde songwriter Julia Holter refrains from plucking at our heartstrings, keeping the tone of Never Rarely Sometimes Always from veering into melodrama. Josephine Livingstone, The New Republic, 8 Apr. 2020 In Onward, Pixar has once again produced a marvelous movie with tons of laughs that tugs at your heartstrings. Nina Huang, EW.com, 4 Apr. 2020 John Crowley’s immigrant love story tugs at the heartstrings and then some thanks to enormously likable performances from Saoirse Ronan and Emory Cohen. Ben Flanagan | Bflanagan@al.com, al, 17 Mar. 2020 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'heartstring.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of heartstring

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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The first known use of heartstring was in the 15th century

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Last Updated

5 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Heartstring.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/heartstring. Accessed 8 Aug. 2022.

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