purse

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loosen the purse strings

To become more liberal with one's expenditures; to increase the availability of money for spending purposes. After having to count my pennies for so long, it's nice to be able to loosen the purse strings a bit! We'd have a much better and more stable product if the boss would loosen the purse strings a little.
See also: loosen, purse, string

tighten the purse strings

To become less liberal with or more controlling of one's expenditures; to decrease the availability of money for spending purposes. After losing my job, I've had to tighten the purse strings quite a bit. We've been behind schedule ever since the boss decided to tighten the purse strings on our project.
See also: purse, string, tighten

purse strings

The spending power of a given group, such as a family, company, country, etc. Their government is going to have to learn to tighten the purse strings if they want to continue receiving bailout money from the IMF. After my dad's gambling problem came to light, it was my mother who started holding the purse strings.
See also: purse, string

make a silk purse of a sow's ear

To fashion something beautiful or valuable out of poor materials. Often used in the negative, such as "cannot make a silk purse of a sow's ear." What do you want me to do with this tacky dress? I can't make a silk purse of a sow's ear!
See also: ear, make, of, purse, silk

a heavy purse makes a light heart

If you are financially secure, you will not worry. Money doesn't buy happiness, but it sure helps to solve a lot of life's little problems. A heavy purse makes a light heart.
See also: heart, heavy, light, make, purse

control the purse strings

 and hold the purse strings
Fig. to be in charge of the money in a business or a household. I control the purse strings at our house. Mr. Williams is the treasurer. He controls the purse strings.
See also: control, purse, string

He that hath a full purse never wanted a friend.

Prov. A rich person always has plenty of friends. Jill: Ever since Joe won the lottery, he's been getting congratulations from friends and relatives he hasn't heard from in years. Jane: You know how it is. He that hath a full purse never wanted a friend.
See also: friend, full, hath, he, never, purse, want

A heavy purse makes a light heart.

Prov. If you have plenty of money, you will feel happy and secure. Everyone in the office is especially cheerful on payday, since a heavy purse makes a light heart.
See also: heart, heavy, light, make, purse

light purse makes a heavy heart

Prov. If you do not have enough money, you will worry and be unhappy. Nathan is a cheerful person by nature, but since he lost his job, worry has made him glum. A light purse makes a heavy heart.
See also: heart, heavy, light, make, purse

Little and often fills the purse.

Prov. If you get a little bit of money frequently, you will always have enough. Jill: I don't think I'll ever be able to save very much; I can only afford to save such a little bit of money from every paycheck. Jane: Ah, but little and often fills the purse.
See also: and, fill, little, often, purse

purse something up

to bunch or pucker something up. (Usually the lips.) When he tasted the lemon juice, he pursed his lips up and spat it out. Don pursed up his lips as if to spit it out.
See also: purse, up

You cannot make a silk purse out of a sow's ear.

Prov. You cannot make someone more refined than he or she is by nature. I've given up trying to get my cousin to appreciate classical music. You can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear.
See also: cannot, ear, make, of, out, purse, silk

hold the purse strings

to control the spending of a family's or an organization's money In our house it was my mother who held the purse strings.
See also: hold, purse, string

You can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear.

  (old-fashioned)
something that you say which means you cannot make a good quality product using bad quality materials To make chairs that'll last, you need good strong pieces of wood. You can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear.
See also: ear, make, of, out, purse, silk

can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear

Be unable to turn something ugly or inferior into something attractive or of value, as in No matter how expensive his clothes, he still looks sloppy-you can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear . This expression was already a proverb in the mid-1500s.
See also: ear, make, of, out, purse, silk

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]
See also: purse, string
References in classic literature ?
Howbeit you must have many a head of horned beasts, and many an acre of broad land, to spend from your purse so freely.
On the days when he won he was insolent and ostentatious; if he lost, he disappeared completely for several days, after which he reappeared with a pale face and thinner person, but with money in his purse.
Maces, bags, and purses indignantly proclaim silence and frown at the man from Shropshire.
Then Robin Hood plucked the purse from his girdle, and quoth he, "Here in this purse are six marks.
The exhibition they make of their feelings is not a touching sight, yet it shows how deeply they have been touched, how deeply their purses have been touched, for to lay hands on their purses is to lay hands on their souls.
Some years ago--never mind how long precisely --having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the world.
She was then able to walk, though but slowly, and was moving awaybut her terror and her purse were too tempting, and she was followed, or rather surrounded, by the whole gang, demanding more.
Nothing I can do -- no cooking of accounts; no self-presented testimonials -- can keep that purse empty.
This is my purse, and you are to pay my charges out of it.
I see he would have his head broken, as well as his purse cut, and so be let blood in two veins at once.
as I have every reason to expect), two of my servants will enter, each bearing a purse containing a thousand pieces of gold.
He opened the mouth of the purse and let a handful of the contents trickle into the palm of his right hand-- all were pieces of good French gold.
Morrel went away, making a sign to the Catalan that he had left his purse on the chimney-piece.
If, God willing, these swords should be devoted to the service of your eminence," said D'Artagnan, "I shall venture to express a wish, which is, that in its turn the purse of your eminence may become light and theirs heavy -- for with these three men your eminence may rouse all Europe if you like.
The old lady took out of her pocket a tightly-clasped purse, and extracted from its depths a ten-gulden piece.