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

(redirected from tugging at heartstrings)

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

or

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 ?
But as fans of his would expect, the seasoned comic once again displayed his knack for tugging at heartstrings while simultaneously tickling funny bones throughout.
Bick proves adept at tugging at heartstrings while gearing up for the next dreadful thing waiting around the corner.
The result is deeply effecting, skirting sentimentality, but not quite falling into it, but tugging at heartstrings nonetheless.
She added: "All the time we're tugging at heartstrings by quoting statistics we think will make that person donate.
I will be tugging at heartstrings and washing my hair all over the stage, the cast and everything,'' said Block, who shares the bubbling personality of the Navy nurse she portrays.