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
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

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
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
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References in periodicals archive ?
Shawky offering a motley and not entirely smooth cocktail of drama and melodrama, a dash of social critique and insight, some chuckles and a few tugs at the heartstrings, mainly by virtue of its near-virtuoso score," wrote Boyd van Hoeij in The Hollywood Reporter.
Jollibee pays tribute to all mothers with a special Kwentong Jollibee Mother's Day trilogy that again tugs at the heartstrings of Filipinos anywhere in the world.
POLICE are warning social media users to stay away from a cyber sting which tugs at the heartstrings.
A MOVING stop-motion fable that tugs at the heartstrings. Icare (voiced by Gaspard Schlatter) is taken to an orphange after his mum's death.
And there are those that just tugs at the heartstrings like University of the Philippines' inspiring, yet heartbreaking, campaign.
Have your tissues at the ready as Holly Willoughby (above) hosts another emotional show that tugs at the heartstrings. She meets Sharon Fox, 43, from Tamworth, a breast cancer survivor who has worked tirelessly to set up a support centre.
5 WALL-E (2008) Robots Wall-E and Eve steal the spotlight in Andrew Stanton's Pixar animation, which tugs at the heartstrings.
Sotoudeh has become a prominent symbol of resistance against the regime, in part because of the hunger strikes she has undergone, but also because the imprisonment of the mother of a four-year-old son and a 12-year-old daughter tugs at the heartstrings.
It shamelessly tugs at the heartstrings. But then, it is Christmas after all.
The music subtly tugs at the heartstrings and the incidents (such as the thief scene with Williams) smack the film's theme straight across your face.
Adam Stafford tugs at the heartstrings as Roxie's neglected husband Amos, especially as he sings Mister Cellophane, but Wendy Lee Purdy just didn't have enough pizzazz as Mama Morton.
CRITIC: Karen McLauchlan, from Norton REVIEW: Beautifully shot and well worth a watch, the love story of The Young Victoria and Prince Albert is a royal romance that really tugs at the heartstrings.
His rapport with Parvin tugs at the heartstrings but it was his remarkably rapid costume change in one of the numbers that stole the show and achieved a euphoric round of applause.
Father-of-two Mr Stevens, aged 42, added: "Most of us have got young families so the NSPCC means a lot to us and to hear the stories about what can happen to children tugs at the heartstrings."
Blond, with a pudding-basin haircut, he is such a natural actor that his performance tugs at the heartstrings when he talks to his dead mum, sees his dancing dreams crumble in the chauvinistic Elliot household, or plays with his gay friend, Michael, acted by Ryan Longbottom with great aplomb and humor.