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  • Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • n Heartstring härt"strĭng` A nerve or tendon, supposed to brace and sustain the heart. "Sobbing, as if a heartstring broke."
    • ***


Tug at the heartstrings - f something tugs at the heartstrings, it makes you feel sad or sympathetic towards it.


In literature:

What a grip at the heartstrings!
"Despair's Last Journey" by David Christie Murray
That bloodhound Thought was near, and with a bound it sprang forward and settled its fangs into his heartstrings.
"How It All Came Round" by L. T. Meade
It meant the tearing out of his very heartstrings which had found root at a woman's feet.
""Unto Caesar"" by Baroness Emmuska Orczy
He felt the tug at his heartstrings.
"The Varmint" by Owen Johnson
But the strings of the lute have snapped; they were made of heartstrings, and a thought too fine for the work.
"The Proud Prince" by Justin Huntly McCarthy
The old well-known pain, wakefulness, longing, was again beginning to relax her very heartstrings.
"Emily Brontë" by A. Mary F. (Agnes Mary Frances) Robinson
Of her features he was aware at first only of a beaming, wistful smile that plucked at his heartstrings with a strange sharpness.
"The Woman from Outside" by Hulbert Footner
Around this giant figure the heartstrings of the people had been unconsciously knit.
"The Clansman" by Thomas Dixon
But it tugs at my heartstrings to have you go, and in an aeroplane!
"Penny of Top Hill Trail" by Belle Kanaris Maniates
What cunning tune can she have played upon your heartstrings that you should espouse her cause with so much fervour?
"The Master Mummer" by E. Phillips Oppenheim
Each hath some fond sweet office that doth strike One of our trembling heartstrings musical.
"The International Monthly, Volume 3, No. 2, May, 1851" by Various
Besides, though Cassy had laughed, there had been a tugging at her heartstrings.
"The Paliser case" by Edgar Saltus
The sword drawn on Lexington Common was severing tender heartstrings.
"Daughters of the Revolution and Their Times" by Charles Carleton Coffin
Again there came that curious pain at his heartstrings, and the singing in his ears.
"Berenice" by E. Phillips Oppenheim
And Jamieson held the very heartstrings of the garrison.
"The Plow-Woman" by Eleanor Gates
He felt as if his heartstrings were severed as he tore himself away from the land where all remained that he coveted upon earth.
"Olla Podrida" by Frederick Marryat
I tell you, these trails are the heartstrings of the North.
"Seeds of Pine" by Janey Canuck
Out of Syoejaetaer's own heartstrings.
"Kalevala, Volume II (of 2)" by Anonymous
Lily knew, with a dull tugging at her heartstrings, that the babe had died.
"Just Around the Corner" by Fannie Hurst
Children are our treasure-idols; we are joined to them by our heartstrings.
"Old Times in Dixie Land" by Caroline E. Merrick

In poetry:

Till it taps upon my heartstrings,
And my very life goes dripping,
Dropping, dripping, drip-drip-dropping,
In the drip-drop of the cistern.
"Nocturn" by William Ernest Henley
And suddenly left us long to feel
A sadness in the sweetest words,
A broken heartstring 'mid the chords;
A tone more tremulous when we kneel.
"Our White Dove" by Gerald Massey
I fain, in this perpetual moving-on,
Would see the shadowy type of stabler things;
Old loves renew'd, old victories rewon,
Old chords restruck upon the old heartstrings!
"Moving On" by Martin Farquhar Tupper
Here the rock and the sea and the tall waving pine
Enchant deep the senses,--subduing, sublime;
Yet stronger than these is the spell that hath power
To sweep o'er the heartstrings in memory's hour.
"Lines, On Visiting Pine Grove Cemetery" by Mary Baker Eddy
They, whom thy love hath guarded long;
They, whom thy care bath rendered strong
In love and faith,
Their heartstrings round thy heart entwine,
They are, they ever will be, thine
In life -- in death.
"India To England" by Nizamat Jung
"When Love's rapt sense the heartstrings gently sweep
With joy divinely fair, the high and deep,
To call her home,
She shall mount upward unto purer skies;
We shall be waiting, in what glad surprise,
Our spirits' own!"
"Meeting Of My Departed Mother And Father" by Mary Baker Eddy

In news:

Is what makes you laugh, pulls on your heartstrings and gets you thinking.
Daniel Traylor's performance as Seymour reinforces how accomplished his work is, and his geeky, nerdy, tender and twisted portrayal both pulls on the heartstrings and presents a morbid sense of fascination.
Plucking at Bernie Williams's Heartstrings.
Merchants tug at shoppers' heartstrings.
A Tear-Stained 'Notebook' Nick Cassavetes' Saga of Love Lost and Found Tugs at Every Heartstring.
Ann Romney's miscarriage news plays heartstring politics.
Toby Keith has offered up a second teaser for his upcoming 'Hope on the Rocks' music video — a clip that is sure to tug at the heartstrings of those who can't resist a good old-fashioned sad country song.
With his flowing beard and gritty country songs that play havoc with the heartstrings, it's hard to imagine Jamey Johnson as either a frat boy at Jacksonville State University, sign salesman or a US Marine.
Man, Village Playhouse is really out to tug on the old heartstrings with this one.
Scammers playing on the heartstrings of grandparents have struck in Ramona twice in the past two weeks, robbing victims in each case of well over $4,000 apiece, authorities said.
A video of the rescue of a baby elephant in a Kenyan national park tugs at the heartstrings.
Toby Keith has offered up a second teaser for his upcoming ' Hope on the Rocks' music video — a clip that is sure to tug at the heartstrings of those who can't resist a good old-fashioned sad country song.
An issue has only truly arrived when Oprah uses it to pull America's heartstrings.
We've steered clear of most of the pomp and circumstance surrounding the royal wedding, but there's something about the sentiment of this plate that gave our heartstrings a little tug.
Some movies tug at heartstrings.