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purse strings

See more synonyms for purse strings on Thesaurus.com
plural noun
  1. the right or power to manage the disposition of money: in control of the family purse strings.
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Idioms
  1. hold the purse strings, to have the power to determine how money shall be spent.
  2. 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.
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Origin of purse strings

late Middle English word dating back to 1375–1425
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for purse strings

Historical Examples

  • He carries his purse-strings in a knot which it would break his heart to unfasten.

    The Suitors of Yvonne

    Raphael Sabatini

  • She will hold the purse-strings, and make him meaner than he is already.

    That Stick

    Charlotte M. Yonge

  • If you will draw your purse-strings a little wider, and allow 1d.

  • But after the dismissal of the Whigs the Queen drew tight the purse-strings.

    The Journal to Stella

    Jonathan Swift

  • His two children were for ever tugging at his purse-strings.


British Dictionary definitions for purse strings

purse strings

pl n
  1. control of finance or expenditure (esp in such phrases as hold or control the purse strings)
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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

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]

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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.