- 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
- control of finance or expenditure (esp in such phrases as hold or control the purse strings)
hold the purse strings
see 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]