free hand

Idioms & Phrases

free hand

Also, free rein. Freedom to do or decide as one sees fit. For example, The teacher gave her assistant a free hand with the class, or They gave me free rein to reorganize the department. The first expression dates from the late 1800s, the second from the mid-1900s.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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