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tugging at heartstrings

Posted by ESC on May 07, 2004

In Reply to: Tugging at heartstrings posted by SR on May 07, 2004

: The child's plight just 'tugged at my heartstrings.'
: Why "heartstrings?" Any idea of the origin? Is the heart here synonomous with a musical instrument? If so, why 'tugged' and not 'plucked' or 'played?' I play a few stringed instruments but have never 'tugged' at the strings.

Here's an explanation of what a "heartstring" was thought to be:

Heartstrings: noun
1 obsolete : a nerve once believed to sustain the heart
2 : the deepest emotions or affections. Pulled at his heartstrings.