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.
heartstring was our Word of the Day on 02/14/2013. Hear the podcast!
Did You Know?
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.
First Known Use of heartstring
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