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purse strings

plural noun
the right or power to manage the disposition of money:
in control of the family purse strings.
hold the purse strings, to have the power to determine how money shall be spent.
loosen / tighten the purse strings, to increase or decrease expenditures or the availability of money:
The budget committee is in the process of tightening the purse strings.
Origin of purse strings
late Middle English
1375-1425; late Middle English Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for purse-strings
Historical Examples
  • His London world talked of a hardening of heart and a tightening of purse-strings which signified disloyalty to the Cause.

    A Diversity of Creatures Rudyard Kipling
  • She will hold the purse-strings, and make him meaner than he is already.

    That Stick Charlotte M. Yonge
  • Mother, if you would only untie your purse-strings for once, and lend him a thousand roubles!

    The Sea-Gull Anton Checkov
  • His two children were for ever tugging at his purse-strings.

  • One of the first prerogatives established by the House of Commons was the right to control the purse-strings of the kingdom.

  • Moreover, we have to teach the teachers and those who have control of the purse-strings.

  • I had to stretch my purse-strings, and go to the higher figure.

    The Confessions of a Collector William Carew Hazlitt
  • Here was a grab at heart-strings and purse-strings together.

  • Besides, he is very prudent and orderly; I am only afraid that some day he will pull the purse-strings too tight.

    Roderick Hudson Henry James
  • You go to college if you wish it, young lady, he said, and I hold the purse-strings.

British Dictionary definitions for purse-strings

purse strings

plural noun
control of finance or expenditure (esp in such phrases as hold or control the purse strings)
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Idioms and Phrases with purse-strings

purse strings

Financial resources or control of them, as in His mother doesn't want to let go of the purse strings because he may make some foolish investments. This expression is often extended to hold or tighten or loosen the purse strings, as in As long as Dad holds the purse strings, we have to consider his wishes, or The company is tightening the purse strings and will not be hiring many new people this year. The purse strings in this idiom are the means of opening and closing a drawstring purse. [ Early 1400s ]
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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