Word of the Day


Definition of heartstring
1obsolete: a nerve once believed to sustain the heart
2: the deepest emotions or affections —usually used in plural
That movie really pulls at your heartstrings


feeling, passions, sensibilities

Heartstring Has a Medical History

Before a love song could tug at your heartstrings, the job was more likely to be accomplished by a surgeon: the word heartstring used to refer to a nerve believed to sustain the heart. You might recognize the word’s second syllable in hamstring, which refers to both a group of tendons at the back of the knee and to any of three muscles at the backs of the upper legs. It’s also apparent in a rare dialect term for the Achilles tendon: heel string. And in light of these terms, it’s not surprising to know that string itself was at one time used independently to refer to bodily cords like tendons and ligaments.

Examples of heartstring in a Sentence

Is Us story editor Laura Kenar, who wrote this heartstring-yanker of an episode.
— Dan Snierson, EW.com, 24 Mar. 2021

From Alicia Keys and Boyz II Men to Demi Lovato, performances at the 62nd Grammy Awards tugged at our heartstrings.
— Hannah Yasharoff, USA TODAY, 29 Jan. 2020

Andreas RentzGetty Images Lana Del Rey is known for making music that tugs at the heartstrings.
— Bianca Rodriguez, Marie Claire, 26 Jan. 2020

First Known Use of heartstring
15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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