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Alternative forms[edit]


From heart +‎ strings.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈhɑːtstɹɪŋz/
  • (file)


heartstrings pl (plural only)

  1. (obsolete, anatomy) The tendons once thought to brace the heart. [15th-19th c.]
    • 1621, Democritus Junior [pseudonym; Robert Burton], The Anatomy of Melancholy, Oxford: Printed by Iohn Lichfield and Iames Short, for Henry Cripps, OCLC 216894069; The Anatomy of Melancholy: [], 2nd corrected and augmented edition, Oxford: Printed by John Lichfield and James Short, for Henry Cripps, 1624, OCLC 54573970, (please specify |partition=1, 2, or 3):
      , I.iii.2.4:
      The midriff and heart-strings do burn and beat very fearfully, and when this vapour or fume is stirred, flieth upward, the heart itself beats […].
  2. (figuratively) One's deepest emotions or inner feelings. [from 16th c.]
  3. (anatomy) The cord-like tendons that connect the papillary muscles to the tricuspid valve and the mitral valve in the heart.
    • 2002, Beryl Stretch, BTEC National Health Studies
      These are the so-called heartstrings or chordae tendineae.
    • 2014, Crissy Shreve, BMom:
      As a result, one or more of his chordae tendineae, or heartstrings, ruptured.