Shoestring refers to a thin, inexpensive string or cord, often used to tie shoes or as a budget-friendly way to achieve a task.


US English

UK English

Part of Speech



cord, string, lace, thong, tie, tether, strip, strap, lacing.


If we consider “shoestring budget” as the common phrase, then its antonyms could be “lavish budget”, “ample resources”, or “generous funding”.

Word Forms

Part of Speech Words
Noun shoestrings, shoestring
Verb None
Adjective None
Adverb None

Example Sentences

  • I didn’t have much money left after paying the rent, so I had to buy my groceries on a shoestring budget this month.

  • The company managed to get by on a shoestring staff for years before finally hiring more employees.

  • He tied his shoes with a frayed shoestring, hoping it wouldn’t break during his run.

  • The nonprofit organization was able to achieve its goals through shoestring fundraising efforts and volunteer work.


Shoestring is primarily used as a noun to refer to a type of thin and inexpensive string or cord that is often used to tie shoes. It is a simple and basic item that is widely available and can be used for a variety of purposes.

The word can also be used in the phrase “shoestring budget,” which typically means a budget that is extremely limited or restricted. In this context, shoestring becomes an adjective and serves to describe the budget as being very small and borderline inadequate. The phrase can also be used with other nouns to describe a similar situation, such as a “shoestring operation” to refer to a business or project that is carried out with minimal resources.

The word shoestring comes from the combination of “shoe” and “string.” The root “shoe” refers to footwear, while “string” refers to a strand of synthetic or natural fibers that can be woven together to form a cord. Shoestring can be seen as a compound word that combines these two roots to create a specific type of cord that is designed for a particular purpose.

There are no commonly-used variations, prefixes, or suffixes for the word shoestring. However, the word is sometimes used colloquially to describe things that are small, basic, or inexpensive. For example, a “shoestring salad” might refer to a salad with very few ingredients, or a “shoestring operation” might describe a business that is very small and operates on a shoestring budget. In general, these uses are informal and are not considered standard usages of the term.