tear/tug/pull at/on (one's)/the heartstrings

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tear/tug/pull at/on (one's)/the heartstrings

To elicit strong feelings of sympathy or fondness. I don't know why, but that piece of music always tears at my heartstrings. That documentary really pulls on the heartstrings—you'll want to adopt all of those kids after watching it.
See also: heartstring, on, pull, tear, tug

tug at the heartstrings


tug at your heartstrings

COMMON If someone or something tugs at the heartstrings or tugs at your heartstrings, they cause you to feel pity or sadness. Miss Cookson knows exactly how to tug at readers' heartstrings. Note: You can use verbs such as pull and pluck instead of tug. Unlike many charity campaigns, it doesn't pull at the heartstrings. Note: You can also omit the word at. McLachlan tugs the heartstrings with a succession of ballads. Note: Heartstrings is used in many other structures and expressions with similar meanings. This is not a movie that aims for the heartstrings. Note: In medieval times, it was believed that `heartstrings' were tendons which supported the heart.
See also: heartstring, tug

tug at somebody’s ˈheartstrings

make somebody feel strong emotions of sadness and pity: Advertisers often use babies and children to tug at your heartstrings.
See also: heartstring, tug
References in periodicals archive ?
The Shadows in My Heart" is a story that will be too familiar to some and unfamiliar to others, but will pull at the heartstrings of everyone who reads it.
ALONGSIDE their fun shows such as Big Brother and Therapy, Channel 5 is making some seriously moving documentaries which really pull at the heartstrings.
The holidays are a time for families to enjoy being together and this latest accident will pull at the heartstrings of every parent.
Screenwriter and producer, Fareed Ramadan, believes that this film will pull at the heartstrings and shed light on the beauty of Bahrain.
Seth Gordon's brash comedy relies heavily on the razor-sharp comic timing of the two leads, but it's attempts to pull at the heartstrings fall flat.
Seth Gordon''s brash comedy relies heavily on the razor-sharp comic timing of the two leads, but it's attempts to pull at the heartstrings fall flat.
He is sorely tempted to take the plunge, no question about that, but leaving this lot would surely pull at the heartstrings, as will not having daily contact with players nor the fun of plundering the transfer market.
I resent the manipulative way it tries to pull at the heartstrings.
And Plaid Cymru have got the makings of a bright idea with their plans to pull at the heartstrings of ex-pats both in the United States and Australia.
3 TRANMERE''S last-day escape from the jaws of relegation under the leadership of sponge man-turned-manager Les Parry demonstrated the enduring power of football in the lower divisions to pull at the heartstrings.
Not only did her kind offer pull at the heartstrings, but it also prompted the Professional Cricketers' Association (the players' union) to examine the legality ofWarwickshire's stance.
Still, there is no debating that nuns pull at the heartstrings.
Wires pull at the heartstrings could be the motto for artistic directors of sporting events from Melbourne to Munich.
This is a tragedy that will pull at the heartstrings of anyone with an ounce of decency.
Admissions officers have seen it all: the fresh cookies, the daily postcards, the recommendations from senators and celebrities, the essays crafted to pull at the heartstrings.