African-American History
Word and Phrase Origins
Slogans and Mottos

Where did the phrase 'high strung' originate?



User Avatar
Wiki User

Spontaneous emergence of grammar.

Answer Firstly, it's "highly strung", or sometimes "high-strung". There are at least two possible origins for the phrase, one from stringed musical instruments and the other from archery, the latter from a bow which has been over-strung, that is with a too-short string. The implication with both possibilities is that an implement with a string too tight is on the verge of some sort of breakdown, just as with a person who it's suggested is "highly strung" is nervy and jumpy and not completely in control.