1

shoestring

noun shoe·string \ ˈshü-ˌstriŋ \

Definition of shoestring

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

Recent Examples of shoestring from the Web

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.

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."

First Known Use of shoestring

1616


2

shoestring

adjective

Definition of shoestring

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

Recent Examples of shoestring from the Web

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.

First Known Use of shoestring

1859



SHOESTRING Defined for English Language Learners

shoestring

noun

Definition of shoestring for English Language Learners

  • : a small amount of money


SHOESTRING Defined for Kids

shoestring

noun shoe·string \ ˈshü-ˌstriŋ \

Definition of shoestring for Students



Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up shoestring? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

WORD OF THE DAY

to buzz or drone

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Find the Cousins

  • a-large-tree-with-many-branches
  • Which pair shares a common word ancestor?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!