cramp someone's style


Restrict or prevent someone from free action or expression, as in It really cramps my style when Mom hovers around me while I'm making dinner. Although in 1819 Charles Lamb complained that using different inks cramped his style of writing, the present sense of this colloquial term dates only from the early 1900s.

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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.