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[hahrt-stringz] /ˈhɑrtˌstrɪŋz/
plural noun
the deepest feelings; the strongest affections:
to tug at one's heartstrings.
Origin of heartstrings
1475-85; heart + strings Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for heartstrings
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The Colonel would have given her his heartstrings if Polly had required them.

    Polly Thomas Nelson Page
  • I have had no other success that pulled at my heartstrings like that one.

    My Antonia Willa Cather
  • "Ma petite," DeLisle said, with a quiver in his voice that echoed up from heartstrings swept by some spirit hand.

    A Soldier of the Legion C. N. Williamson
  • It is only by the heartstrings that men can be led and women alone can lead them.

    The Monster Edgar Saltus
  • Close upon the heels of this disappointment came another to tear the heartstrings of the irritated Scotchman.

    The Story of John Paul Jones Chelsea Curtis Fraser
  • Accept my little pres. Play on her heartstrings pursestrings too.

    Ulysses James Joyce
  • The mournful whoo-ooing of the wind outside gripped at her heartstrings.

    The Lookout Man B. M. Bower
  • His heartstrings were out of sight and he was thankful they were.

    With the Battle Fleet Franklin Matthews
British Dictionary definitions for heartstrings


plural noun
(often facetious) deep emotions or feelings
Word Origin
C15: originally referring to the tendons supposed to support the heart
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for heartstrings

late 15c., originally literal, in old anatomy theory "the tendons and nerves that brace the heart;" from heart + string (n.). Transferred and figurative sense from 1590s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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