shoestring

noun
shoe·​string | \ ˈshü-ˌstriŋ How to pronounce shoestring (audio) \

Definition of shoestring

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : shoelace
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

adjective

Definition of shoestring (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : narrow and long like a shoestring shoestring french fries
2 : operating on, accomplished by, or consisting of a small amount of money or capital a shoestring budget

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Synonyms & Antonyms for shoestring

Synonyms: Noun

Antonyms: Noun

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Did You Know?

Noun

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."

Examples of shoestring in a Sentence

Noun trying to start a business on a shoestring
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Doing that successfully means navigating the complex and risky maze of drug development without a proper road map, skills, or infrastructure, on a shoestring budget, while racing against time. Sanath Kumar Ramesh, Max G. Bronstein, STAT, "Ultra-rare but not forgotten: New drug development paradigms to treat the rarest of diseases," 17 Feb. 2021 Another Earth was the best kind of sci-fi-on-a-shoestring, conceptual but contained. Jason Kehe, Wired, "Bliss Is the Worst Kind of Open-Ended Sci-Fi Movie," 5 Feb. 2021 They were sold to their longtime investor and CEO, Eddie Lampert, who has kept them alive on a shoestring budget under the company name Transformco. Kelly Tyko, USA TODAY, "Sears and Kmart store closings continue. Is your location closing in 2021? See the list.," 4 Feb. 2021 The team had won four division titles in its five seasons and set league attendance records, a stunning success for an indie Single-A club on a shoestring budget. oregonlive, "Hollywood actor Bing Russell embraced Portland’s wild, weird 1970s -- and enticed Elvis with Mavericks, Big League dreams," 25 Jan. 2021 Many mom-and-pop shops on the East, West and South sides run on a shoestring and don’t have that kind of connection. Joshua Fechter, ExpressNews.com, "More money for distributing coronavirus vaccine, rent relief coming to San Antonio out of latest stimulus," 13 Jan. 2021 They were sold to their longtime investor and CEO, Eddie Lampert, who has kept them alive on a shoestring budget. Nathan Bomey, USA TODAY, "More store closings in 2021? These are the most vulnerable major retailers of 2021 as pandemic continues," 30 Dec. 2020 In interviews, the principals have noted that the movie was shot on a relative shoestring, over a few weeks as the ship made its passage. Brian Lowry, CNN, "'Let Them All Talk' takes a breezy boat trip with Meryl Streep and company," 10 Dec. 2020 Started at a home on a shoestring budget, the pantry grew to offer basic emergency needs, including food, clothing and help paying for rent and utilities. Sarah Bahari, Dallas News, "A Mesquite charity that’s helped people out of poverty for nearly 58 years will close this week," 16 Dec. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Recent polls show that public opinion of Trump is souring as former Vice President Joe Biden pulls ahead in crucial swing states, despite a shoestring campaign and self-confinement to his Delaware home. Justin Sink, Bloomberg.com, "Trump Shows Frayed Nerves With Pandemic’s Toll Climbing," 12 May 2020 In 2016, the Trump campaign relied on stadium rallies, TV appearances and social media to compensate for its shoestring budget and thin staffing. Jennifer Epstein, Bloomberg.com, "Biden Hasn’t Been Tested for Virus, Aides Say: Campaign Update," 7 May 2020 In Greater Cincinnati, a mighty, mostly volunteer needle-exchange effort on a shoestring budget started in 2014. Terry Demio, USA TODAY, "Covering the opioid epidemic: Despair, bravery, helplessness, iron will and too much death," 15 Dec. 2019 In the process, mom-and-pops, immigrant-run shops, and small, shoestring operations were often sidelined, not given their full due. BostonGlobe.com, "selected this month by Bon Appetit for the magazine’s annual “Hot 10” list of best new restaurants in the country. There are some," 25 Sep. 2019 Interviews with more than a dozen former employees and business partners provide a deeper look inside an organization that ballooned from a shoestring operation in the 1990s into a behemoth rivaling Wall Street’s largest firms. Rachael Levy, WSJ, "The Mormon Church Amassed $100 Billion. It Was the Best-Kept Secret in the Investment World.," 8 Feb. 2020 In Greater Cincinnati, a mighty, mostly volunteer needle-exchange effort on a shoestring budget started in 2014. Terry Demio, USA TODAY, "Covering the opioid epidemic: Despair, bravery, helplessness, iron will and too much death," 15 Dec. 2019 In Greater Cincinnati, a mighty, mostly volunteer needle-exchange effort on a shoestring budget started in 2014. Terry Demio, USA TODAY, "Covering the opioid epidemic: Despair, bravery, helplessness, iron will and too much death," 15 Dec. 2019 In Greater Cincinnati, a mighty, mostly volunteer needle-exchange effort on a shoestring budget started in 2014. Terry Demio, USA TODAY, "Covering the opioid epidemic: Despair, bravery, helplessness, iron will and too much death," 15 Dec. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'shoestring.' 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 shoestring

Noun

1616, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective

1859, in the meaning defined at sense 2

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Time Traveler for shoestring

Time Traveler

The first known use of shoestring was in 1616

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Statistics for shoestring

Last Updated

27 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Shoestring.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/shoestring. Accessed 28 Feb. 2021.

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More Definitions for shoestring

shoestring

noun

English Language Learners Definition of shoestring

informal : a small amount of money

shoestring

noun
shoe·​string | \ ˈshü-ˌstriŋ How to pronounce shoestring (audio) \

Kids Definition of shoestring

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