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draw in the reins
1. Literally, to pull in the reins of a bridled animal, especially a horse, to slow it down or bring it to a stop. Mary drew in the reins as she approached town, bringing her horse to a saunter.
2. By extension, to slow something down or bring it to a stop. During the economic boom, our company was making as many risky investments as we could find. Luckily, our CEO had the sense to draw in the reins on such recklessness before the economy crashed.
give rein to (someone or something)
To allow unchecked or unconstrained freedom to something or someone; to completely or freely indulge something or someone. George would make a great businessman if he didn't give rein to his emotions like that. It's a sure sign that this company is failing if they're willing to give rein to the interns like this. You have a nasty habit of giving rein to your drinking.
pull in the reins
To begin doing something more carefully or cautiously; to regain or tighten control over someone or something. This thesis you're planning is becoming wildly unfocused—I think you should pull in the reins a bit! I wish those parents would pull in the reins on their kids—the little devils are tearing the place apart!
take the rein(s)
To take or assume control (of something). After the CEO announced that she had been diagnosed with dementia, her daughter gradually began taking the reins of the company. I don't know why people are so utterly terrified of letting the federal government take the rein when it comes to things like healthcare.
See also: take
Complete freedom to do what one wants or chooses. Can you believe the boss gave me free rein on this project? Finally, I can present a campaign with my own vision!
allow (one) free rein
To give one complete freedom to do what one wants or chooses. Can you believe the boss allowed me free rein on this project? Finally, I can present a campaign with my own vision!
*free hand (with someone or something)
Fig. freedom to exercise complete control over something. (*Typically: get ~; have ~; give someone ~.) I didn't get a free hand with the last project. John was in charge then, but he didn't get a free hand either.
give free rein to someoneand give someone free rein
Fig. to allow someone to be completely in charge (of something). (Alludes to loosening the reins of a horse and therefore control.) The boss gave the manager free rein with the new project. The principal gave free rein to Mrs. Brown in her classes.
keep a tight rein on someone or somethingand keep a close rein on someone or something
Fig. to watch and control someone or something diligently. (Alludes to controlling a horse by a tight grip on the reins.) The office manager kept a tight rein on the staff. Mary keeps a close rein on her children.
rein back on someone or something
to control or diminish the intensity of someone or something. The manager was urged to rein back on her assigning overtime. She reined back on expenses and demanded that others do likewise.
rein someone or something in
to bring someone or something under control; to slow down someone or something. Fred is getting out of hand. The boss undertook to rein him in a bit. The boss is trying to rein in Jane's enthusiasm.
rein something up
to bring something, usually a horse, to a stop. She reined her horse up and stopped for a chat. Rein up your horse and stop for a while.
[for a horse rider] to stop. The equestrian reined up and dismounted. We all reined up and waited for the cars to pass by.
give somebody/something (a) free reinalso give (a) free reign to somebody/something
to allow someone or something complete freedom The owners gave the chef free reign to create a new menu. She was afraid to give free rein to her feelings.
keep a tight rein on somebody/something
to control someone or something carefully Clarke has consistently pointed to the need to keep a tight rein on government finances. He kept a tight rein on his daughter.
rein in somebody/somethingalso rein somebody/something in
to control someone or something We should rein in our spending, balance our budget, and stop borrowing. Critics say they have run the company as a personal kingdom, pocketing the profits and ignoring anyone who tried to rein them in.
allow/give somebody (a) free rein
to allow someone to do what they want or go where they want to (often + to do sth) The older kids were given free rein to do whatever they wanted. We shut the kitten out of the bedroom but allowed her free rein in the rest of the apartment.
allow/give something (a) free rein
if you give ideas or emotions free rein, you allow them to develop and do not try to control them With all these materials available, we can give our creativity free rein.
keep a tight rein on somebody/somethingalso keep somebody/something on a tight rein
to have a lot of control over someone or something He made ends meet by keeping a tight rein on his budget. Our parents always kept us on a pretty tight rein.
draw in the reins
Come to a halt, back down. For example, During a recession, many businesses are forced to draw in the reins on expansion. This expression transfers the means of stopping a horse to other kinds of restraint.
Also, free rein. Freedom to do or decide as one sees fit. For example, The teacher gave her assistant a free hand with the class, or They gave me free rein to reorganize the department. The first expression dates from the late 1800s, the second from the mid-1900s.
give free rein to
see under free hand.
give rein to
see under free hand.
tight rein on, a
Strict control over, as in We told them to keep a tight rein on spending for the next year. This expression alludes to the narrow strap (rein) attached to a bit and used to control a horse's movements. Rein has been used to refer to any kind of restraint since the first half of the 1400s.
1. To restrain or control something or someone: The coalition tried to rein in its more militant members. I reined my anger in and refused to fight.
2. To make a horse move more slowly or stop by pulling back on reins: Rein in your horse while this truck goes by. The horses wanted to break free, but the rancher reined them in.
To stop a horse, for example, by pulling on the reins.
draw in the reins
1. To slow down or stop a horse or other animal by putting pressure on the reins.
2. To restrain or control.