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

Idioms are generally defined as groups of words that form a meaningful whole when they come together, even though the words in them do not make sense on their own. They have produced many idioms according to their own cultural characteristics in communities using the English language. What does pull a few strings mean? In what situations is pull a few strings used?

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 have a common language

"The early bird catches the worm" is an English idiom that means that those who wake up early and start their day early are more likely to succeed. A similar idiom in Spanish is "El que madruga, Dios le ayuda," which translates to "God helps those who rise early." This idiom emphasizes the importance of starting the day early in order to achieve success.


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