Etymology
Advertisement
string (n.)
Old English streng "line, cord, thread, string of a bow or harp," in plural "tackle, rigging; lineage, race," from Proto-Germanic *strangiz (source also of Old Norse strengr, Danish streng, Middle Dutch strenge, Dutch streng, Old High German strang, German Strang "rope, cord"), from *strang- "taut, stiff," from PIE root *strenk- "tight, narrow." Gradually restricted by early Middle English to lines that are smaller than a rope. Sense of "a number of objects arranged in a line" first recorded late 15c.

Old English meaning "ligaments, tendons" is preserved in hamstring (n.), heart-strings. Meaning "limitations, stipulations" (1888) is American English, probably from the common April Fool's joke of leaving a purse that appears to be full of money on the sidewalk, then tugging it away with an attached string when someone stoops to pick it up.

To pull strings "control the course of affairs" (1860) is from the notion of puppet theater. First string, second string, etc. in athletics (1863) is from archers' custom of carrying spare bowstrings in the event that one breaks. Strings "stringed instruments" is attested from mid-14c. String bean is from 1759; string bikini is from 1974.
Related entries & more 
Advertisement
strong (adj.)
Old English strang "physically powerful, powerful in effect; forceful, severe, firm, bold, brave; constant, resolute; arduous, violent," from Proto-Germanic *strangaz (source also of Old Norse strangr "strong," Dutch streng "strict, rigorous," Old High German strang "strong, bold, hard," German streng "strict, rigorous"), possibly from PIE *strenk- "tight, narrow." Originally compared strenger, strengest (compare old/elder/eldest).

Grammatical sense, of noun and verb inflections, is first attested 1841, translating German stark, used in a grammatical sense by Jakob Grimm (the terms strong and weak better fit German inflections). Strong suit (1865) is from card-playing. Strong man "man of great strength" (especially one who displays it professionally) is recorded from 1690s; meaning "dominating man in a political organization" is from 1859.
Related entries & more 
strength (n.)
Old English strengþu, strengð "bodily power, force, vigor, firmness, fortitude, manhood, violence, moral resistance," from Proto-Germanic *strangitho (source also of Old High German strengida "strength"), from PIE *strenk- "tight, narrow" (see string (n.)), with Proto-Germanic abstract noun suffix *-itho (see -th (2)). Compare length/long. From the same root as strong,
Related entries & more 
strengthen (v.)
late 14c., from strength + -en (1). Related: Strengthened; strengthening; strengthener. Earlier verb was simply strength (12c.).
Related entries & more