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Definition of Idiomatic Expressions


What does on a shoestring mean?

Meaning of idioms with examples...

on a shoestring


If you do something on a shoestring, you do it with a very small amount of money.


According to the Oxford English Dictionary, one of the first occurrences of the phrase in print was in an 1882 issue of The Century Magazine:
"[He] could draw to a shoe-string, as the saying went, and obtain a tan-yard!"

The connection of the idiom to a small amount of money is unclear. One explanation refers to the fact that shoestrings used to be sold cheaply with little profit margin.

The term shoestring collocates with other words as follows:

- To be on a shoestring.
- To be on a shoestring budget.
- To get by on a shoestring.
- To live on a shoestring.
- To do something on a shoestring.


1. The property was bought on a shoestring budget.
2. They lived on a shoestring for years.
3. John started his new business on a shoestring budget.

This idiom is in the clothes category

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