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

(redirected from tugs on the 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


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 then, this is real-life drama, hard-hitting and the stuff that tugs on the heartstrings.
Following widow Annie Clarke's love and loss to leukaemia of husband John tugs on the heartstrings.
I think Frank Sinatra and Dorothy Squires possessed the same sort of extroverted charm, insistent tugs on the heartstrings, the sense of lonely people trying to love someone or everyone.
Her rivals in the category -- Calista Flockhart, Patricia Heaton, Debra Messing and Jane Kaczmarek -- are betting on a mix of yuks and tugs on the heartstrings in their submitted episodes.