apron

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apron-string hold

obsolete A property or estate owned by a woman but controlled by her husband during her life and then by her family after her death. He has a vast property; it is but an apron-string hold, though, and he shall be dispossessed of it when she passes.
See also: hold

apron-string tenure

obsolete A property or estate owned by a woman but controlled by her husband during her life and then by her family after her death. He has a vast property; it is but an apron-string tenure, though, and he shall be dispossessed of it when she passes.

loosen the apron strings

To lessen the extent to which someone controls, influences, or monitors someone else, especially parents in relation to their children. Mothers these days are so fussy about their kids, having to know where they are at every second of the day. They would really do well to loosen the apron strings a little, if you ask me! Sending kids to summer camps has been in decline in recent years, as parents have become less and less inclined to loosen the apron strings.
See also: apron, loosen, string

apron string

figurative That which binds a woman to her husband or child. The phrase likely alludes to "apron-string tenure," a 17th century law by which a husband could control his wife's property (and her family's) during her lifetime. Often used in the phrase "tied to (one's) apron string(s)." I can't believe how much Michael is tied to his mother's apron string! That's the only explanation for him still living at home at age 40!
See also: apron, string

tied to one's mother's apron strings

Fig. dominated by one's mother; dependent on one's mother. Tom is still tied to his mother's apron strings. Isn't he a little old to be tied to his mother's apron strings?
See also: apron, string, tie

be tied to your mother's apron strings

if someone, usually a man, is tied to their mother's apron strings, they still need their mother and cannot think or act independently He's 30 but he's still tied to his mother's apron strings.
See also: apron, string, tie

tied to apron strings

Wholly dependent on or controlled by a woman, especially one's mother or wife. For example, At 25, he was still too tied to her apron strings to get an apartment of his own. This expression, dating from the early 1800s, probably alluded to apron-string tenure, a 17th-century law that allowed a husband to control his wife's and her family's property during her lifetime.
See also: apron, string, tie

tied to his mother's apron strings

Momma's boy. An adult male deeply attached to his mother, dating from the era when mothers (and other homemakers and housekeepers) wore aprons.
See also: apron, string, tie
References in classic literature ?
Tell him so,' retorted Peggotty, looking out of her apron.
After that, she covered her head up with her apron again and had another laugh about Mr.
Slowly Lisbeth drew down her apron, and timidly she opened her dim dark eyes.
At the same instant I saw the old gentleman limping off at the top of his speed, having caught and wrapt up in his apron something that fell heavily into it from the darkness of the arch just over the turnstile.
Aunt Em tried to "slick" her hair, and she hid the dish-towel and dish under her apron while she bowed to the lovely Ozma.
I'll tell you what, Vic," she added as she smoothed out her apron and put it on again, "for some reason or other you've missed your guess.
and will she wear a white apron and make pies and puddings?
I don't know about the white apron, but I dare say she will make pies and puddings now and then; but that will be no great hardship, as she has done it before.
But the music had stopped, and all she saw was a girl in a blue apron scrubbing the hearth.
asked Phebe, looking up at her guest and wondering how life could be dull to a girl who wore a silk frock, a daintily frilled apron, a pretty locket, and had her hair tied up with a velvet snood.
The last new maid, who has never seen the young gentleman Miss Rosa is engaged to, and who is making his acquaintance between the hinges of the open door, left open for the purpose, stumbles guiltily down the kitchen stairs, as a charming little apparition, with its face concealed by a little silk apron thrown over its head, glides into the parlour.
The apron is pulled off the childish head, as its wearer replies:
There was an apron hanging over the back of a chair.
Wrench, eyeing the struggling apron disapprovingly, mentioned that Mr Pickering had bought a revolver that morning.
More afraid of her husband at the moment than of the mysterious sound in the kitchen, Affery crept away as lightly and as quickly as she could, descended the kitchen stairs almost as rapidly as she had ascended them, resumed her seat before the fire, tucked up her skirt again, and finally threw her apron over her head.