heart·​string ˈhärt-ˌstriŋ How to pronounce heartstring (audio)
obsolete : a nerve once believed to sustain the heart
: the deepest emotions or affections
usually used in plural
That movie really pulls at your heartstrings.

Did you know?

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

always said she didn't care much for cats, but now the little kitten was tugging at her heartstrings a story that will touch the very heartstrings of its readers
Recent Examples on the Web Their needs likely tug on your heartstrings naturally. Tarot.com, Baltimore Sun, 16 Apr. 2024 Emma and Sam aren't the only ones whose romance pulls on our heartstrings in this episode, though. Alex Raiman, EW.com, 6 Oct. 2023 See all Example Sentences for heartstring 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'heartstring.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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


Dictionary Entries Near heartstring

Cite this Entry

“Heartstring.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/heartstring. Accessed 30 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


heart·​string -ˌstriŋ How to pronounce heartstring (audio)
: the deepest emotions or affections
touched the heartstrings of the audience
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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