heartstring

noun
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.

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Heartstring Has a Medical History

Before a song or movie or heart-shaped card accompanied by a box of chocolates 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 the term "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 cords like tendons and ligaments.

Examples of heartstring in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Your heartstrings could be pulled to an unlikely place at a book club or sorority meeting or through a mutual friend. Sonja Marie, Essence, "Cancer, It's Time To Feel The Love! Here Are July 2019 Horoscopes For All," 1 July 2019 Brown’s hardships were mentioned on-air as his team continued to advance through the College World Series, with his daughter’s story, in particular, tugging at many viewers’ heartstrings. Rachel Desantis, PEOPLE.com, "Bret Michaels Pledges $10,000 to Charity in Honor of Vanderbilt Pitcher's 14-Month-Old Daughter," 27 June 2019 Her patriotic messaging could tug at the nationalistic heartstrings Mr Trump strummed in 2016. The Economist, "A large share of Republicans hold progressive economic views," 21 June 2019 For almost fifteen years, Grey's Anatomy has pulled at our heartstrings. Jasmine Gomez, Seventeen, "30 Of The Best Quotes From All 15 Seasons Of Grey's Anatomy," 10 May 2019 This new series about people devoted to helping animals plays like an extra-long internet video: lots of uplifting music and chyrons, meant to pluck at the heartstrings. Margaret Lyons, New York Times, "How Much Watching Time Do You Have This Weekend?," 7 June 2018 She was mesmerized by the entire Spring 2019 collection, but one very special piece on the runway pulled at her heartstrings. Brooke Bobb, Vogue, "Tessa Thompson on Why She Wore Chanel Couture to The Oscars This Year," 26 Feb. 2019 Get ready for the first blockbuster of the summer that will certainly tug at your heartstrings. Tamara Fuentes, Seventeen, "Everything We Know About Yara Shahidi and Charles Melton's "The Sun is Also a Star"," 6 Feb. 2019 As conventionally unconvincing as the enterprise has to be, the movie tries to tug at the heartstrings with its suggestion that in these old men Dax has found a new family. Jay Longino, New York Times, "Review: In ‘Uncle Drew,’ N.B.A. Stars Keep Dunking With Age," 28 June 2018

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.

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First Known Use of heartstring

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Last Updated

10 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for heartstring

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

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