What does the idiom "pull a few strings" mean?

You are wondering about the meaning of the phrase pull a few strings, maybe you heard it in a TV show, movie or theater play. Although this idiom is not used very often, it enriches your capacity of expression and strengthens communication. In which case is the expression pull a few strings used and what is its meaning?

Meaning of "pull a few strings"


The phrase ‘pull a few strings’ means to use one’s influence or power to achieve something, usually in a situation where the desired result would usually be difficult or impossible to achieve. It is used in both informal and formal contexts, and often implies a certain level of manipulation to get what one wants.


The origin of the phrase ‘pull a few strings’ can be traced back to the mid-1700s, when it was first used as a metaphor for manipulating a marionette or puppet. The idea behind the phrase was that a puppeteer had to “pull a few strings” in order to make the puppet move in the desired direction or perform a certain trick. This metaphor was then adopted to refer to the use of influence and power to achieve a particular goal.


The phrase ‘pull a few strings’ is generally used as an informal expression to refer to the use of influence or power, often in a situation when the desired result would usually be difficult or impossible to achieve. It is often used as a form of praise when someone has managed to get something done by using their influence or power, although it can also be used in a sarcastic or negative way to suggest manipulation or unfair use of power.

Example Sentences

  • He managed to get a really good deal on the car, but I think he had to pull a few strings to get it.
  • I wouldn't expect to get a spot in the program - you might have to pull a few strings.
  • She must have pulled a few strings to get her name on the list.
  • He's always pulling strings to get what he wants - it's not fair.

The meanings of the words in the "pull a few strings" idiom

Idioms with similar meanings in different languages

"Barking up the wrong tree" is an English idiom that means to pursue a mistaken or misguided course of action. In German, the similar idiom is "Auf dem Holzweg sein," which translates to "To be on the wrong track." This idiom emphasizes the idea that when you are pursuing the wrong course of action, you are not going to achieve your desired outcome.


No comment has been written about pull a few strings yet, you can write the first comment and share your thoughts with our other visitors.
Leave a Reply