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

Synonyms & Antonyms for shoestring

Synonyms: Noun

Antonyms: Noun

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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 That said, even a shoestring budget can go far on social media. Alison Coleman, Forbes, 26 May 2022 Alex Khalil, a Jenkintown Borough Council member and the only woman in the race, ran on a shoestring budget and never broke through. Tribune News Service, oregonlive, 17 May 2022 Produced through Concorde-New Horizons, the first live-action take on the iconic Marvel Comics group, directed by Oley Sassone, was primarily made (on a shoestring budget) in order for the late Bernd Eichinger to keep the Fantastic Four film rights. Ryan Parker, The Hollywood Reporter, 11 May 2022 In the beginning [of my career], everything was on a shoestring budget. Brittany Talarico, PEOPLE.com, 5 May 2022 For solitude on a shoestring, Scribner’s suggested an exotic last recourse—a retreat into nature with only a tent and modest provisions. Dan Piepenbring, The New Yorker, 27 Apr. 2022 Gerber/Hart Library and Archives, an independent library and archive of LGBTQ materials, has always operated on a shoestring budget with a priceless mission. Chicago Tribune Staff, chicagotribune.com, 30 Mar. 2022 The resilience of this underdog squad with a shoestring budget dates back to the stretch of 27 days in December and January when the Omicron variant ravaged Saint Peter’s and left them unable to play a single game. Ben Cohen, WSJ, 24 Mar. 2022 First-timers can show their management effectiveness by effectively navigating the turbulent waters of getting the business off the ground on a shoestring budget. Glenn Hopper, Forbes, 14 Mar. 2022 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, 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, 7 May 2020 In Greater Cincinnati, a mighty, mostly volunteer needle-exchange effort on a shoestring budget started in 2014. Terry Demio, USA TODAY, 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, 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, 8 Feb. 2020 In Greater Cincinnati, a mighty, mostly volunteer needle-exchange effort on a shoestring budget started in 2014. Terry Demio, USA TODAY, 15 Dec. 2019 In Greater Cincinnati, a mighty, mostly volunteer needle-exchange effort on a shoestring budget started in 2014. Terry Demio, USA TODAY, 15 Dec. 2019 In Greater Cincinnati, a mighty, mostly volunteer needle-exchange effort on a shoestring budget started in 2014. Terry Demio, USA TODAY, 15 Dec. 2019 See More

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

Noun

1616, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective

1859, in the meaning defined at sense 2

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Dictionary Entries Near shoestring

shoe stone

shoestring

shoestring catch

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Statistics for shoestring

Last Updated

3 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Shoestring.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/shoestring. Accessed 26 Jun. 2022.

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More Definitions for shoestring

shoestring

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

Kids Definition of shoestring

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