1

shoestring

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noun shoe·string \ˈshü-ˌstriŋ\

Definition of shoestring

  1. 1 :  shoelace

  2. 2 [from shoestrings being a typical item sold by itinerant vendors] :  a small sum of money :  capital inadequate or barely adequate to the needs of a transaction started the business on a shoestring

shoestring was our Word of the Day on 06/19/2007. Hear the podcast!

Examples of shoestring in a Sentence

  1. trying to start a business on a shoestring

Did You Know?

In earlier times, wandering peddlers offered townspeople a variety of items and trinkets, such as fabrics, embroidery materials, and even patent medicines. Another popular offering from these traveling salespeople was shoelaces. The fact that such vendors neither earned much money nor charged very much for their wares led to the connection of their literal shoestrings with a metaphorical application of "shoestring" to a very small amount of money. It's still not uncommon to hear of a business being operated on a shoestring (even if these days it's less likely that actual shoelaces are involved), but it's also possible to speak of "traveling on a shoestring" and even "gardening on a shoestring."

1616

First Known Use of shoestring

1616


2

shoestring

adjective shoe·string

Definition of shoestring

  1. 1 :  narrow and long like a shoestring shoestring french fries

  2. 2 :  operating on, accomplished by, or consisting of a small amount of money or capital a shoestring budget

1859

First Known Use of shoestring

1859



SHOESTRING Defined for English Language Learners

1

shoestring

play
noun shoe·string \ˈshü-ˌstriŋ\

Definition of shoestring for English Language Learners

  • : a small amount of money


SHOESTRING Defined for Kids

shoestring

play
noun shoe·string \ˈshü-ˌstriŋ\

Definition of shoestring for Students



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