Two years later, he had released all Soviet dissidents from prison and was beginning to loosen the reins on Soviet bloc countries.
The loyalists who fought on his side will surely take the reins of state institutions.
John King signed off as host of CNN's State of the Union Sunday and passed the reins to Candy Crowley.
see rein (n.). Figurative sense "means of controlling; control, check, restraint" is from early 14c.
c.1300, "strap fastened to a bridle," from Old French rene, resne "reins, bridle strap, laces" (Modern French rêne), probably from Vulgar Latin *retina "a bond, check," back-formation from Latin retinere "hold back" (see retain). To give something free rein is originally of horses.
c.1300, from rein (n.). Figurative extension "put a check on" first recorded 1580s. Related: Reined; reining. To rein up "halt" (1550s) is from the way to make a horse stop by pulling up on the reins.
The kidneys, loins, or lower back.
the kidneys, the supposed seat of the desires and affections; used metaphorically for "heart." The "reins" and the "heart" are often mentioned together, as denoting the whole moral constitution of man (Ps. 7:9; 16:7; 26:2; 139:13; Jer. 17:10, etc.).