Definition of heartstring in English:



usually heartstrings
  • Used in reference to one's deepest feelings of love or compassion.

    ‘the kitten's pitiful little squeak tugged at her heartstrings’
    ‘the romance fails to tweak the heartstrings even a little’
    • ‘Even though she was trying to tug on Gilligan's heartstrings, her feelings were a mirror of his own.’
    • ‘It's not all brooding insolence though, there are glorious, uplifting love songs that pluck playfully at your heartstrings.’
    • ‘It certainly shouldn't tug at the heartstrings, satisfy the mind and thrill visually all at the same time.’
    • ‘Ned felt something tug at his heartstrings, sympathy overwhelming him.’
    • ‘I am sick of hearing those socialist MPs playing the heartstrings on the subject of drinking.’
    • ‘It was clearly designed to tug the heartstrings, but the audience's only interest was in whether her nose was up to the job.’
    • ‘Has the world cottoned on to my gentle wit, my innate sense of style, or my ability to tug at the emotional heartstrings so dextrously?’
    • ‘She had never seen this side of him before and she felt a tug at her heartstrings which alarmed her quite a bit.’
    • ‘The innocence pulled at the heartstrings as one imagined children, families, and friends who had lost their loved ones in a cruel way.’
    • ‘Some beggars operating in Swindon already use hard luck tales, often creating elaborate stories and faking emotion to tug at the heartstrings.’


Late Middle English (originally in sense ‘cordlike structure attached to the heart’): from heart + string.