One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
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’
- ‘Some beggars operating in Swindon already use hard luck tales, often creating elaborate stories and faking emotion to tug at the heartstrings.’
- ‘Ned felt something tug at his heartstrings, sympathy overwhelming him.’
- ‘The innocence pulled at the heartstrings as one imagined children, families, and friends who had lost their loved ones in a cruel way.’
- ‘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?’
- ‘I am sick of hearing those socialist MPs playing the heartstrings on the subject of drinking.’
- ‘It certainly shouldn't tug at the heartstrings, satisfy the mind and thrill visually all at the same time.’
- ‘It's not all brooding insolence though, there are glorious, uplifting love songs that pluck playfully at your heartstrings.’
- ‘Even though she was trying to tug on Gilligan's heartstrings, her feelings were a mirror of his own.’
- ‘It was clearly designed to tug the heartstrings, but the audience's only interest was in whether her nose was up to the job.’
- ‘She had never seen this side of him before and she felt a tug at her heartstrings which alarmed her quite a bit.’
Late Middle English (originally in sense ‘cordlike structure attached to the heart’): from heart + string.
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