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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

tighten the reins

To begin doing something more carefully or cautiously; to regain or tighten control of someone or something. This thesis you're planning is becoming unfocused. I think you should tighten the reins a bit. I wish those parents would tighten the rein on their kids, the little devils are tearing the place apart!
See also: reins, tighten

tighten one's belt

Fig. to manage to spend less money; to use less of something. (See also take one's belt in (a notch).) Things are beginning to cost more and more. It looks like we'll all have to tighten our belts. Times are hard, and prices are high. I can tighten my belt for only so long.
See also: belt, tighten

tighten something on(to) something

to make something more tightly attached to something. Will you please tighten this nut onto the bolt? I tightened the lid on the pickle jar.
See also: on, tighten

tighten something up

to make something tighter. Tighten your seat belt up. It looks loose. Can you tighten up all the bolts?
See also: tighten, up

tighten up

1. Lit. [for something] to get tighter. The door hinges began to tighten up, making the door hard to open and close. His grip around the handle tightened up and he refused to let go.
2. Fig. [for someone or a group] to become miserly. The government tightened up and our budget was slashed. We almost went out of business when we couldn't get credit because the bank tightened up.
3. Fig. [for someone or something] to become more restrictive. The boss is tightening up on new hiring. There are more rules and the people who enforce them are tightening up.
See also: tighten, up

tighten your belt

to spend less money I've had to tighten my belt since I stopped working full time.
See also: belt, tighten

tighten the screws on somebody/something

also put the screws on somebody/something
to make it harder for someone to do something Government agencies need to tighten the screws on illegal immigrants. We are putting the screws on that country to end its history of helping terrorists.
Usage notes: sometimes used in the form put the screws to someone or something: The owners could really put the screws to the players.
See also: on, screw, tighten

tighten the reins

to start to control something or someone more carefully (often + on ) She has tightened the reins on her younger sons in an effort to curb their wild behaviour before it's too late.
See also: reins, tighten

tighten your belt

to spend less than you did before because you have less money I've had to tighten my belt since I stopped working full-time.
See also: belt, tighten

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

tighten one's belt

Spend less, be more frugal, as in Business has been bad, so we'll have to tighten our belts. This metaphoric term alludes to pulling in one's belt after losing weight from not having enough to eat. [First half of 1900s]
See also: belt, tighten

tighten the screws

see under turn up the heat.
See also: screw, tighten

turn up the heat on

Also, put the heat or screws or squeeze on ; tighten the screws on. Pressure someone, as in The cops turned up the heat on drivers who show signs of drunkenness, or They said they'd tighten the screws on her if she didn't confess. All of these slangy terms allude to forms of physical coercion or torture. The first dates from about 1930, the variants using screws from the mid-1800s, and squeeze from the late 1700s.
See also: heat, on, turn, up

tighten up

1. To make something tight or tighter: I pulled on the ends of the string to tighten up the knot. The mechanic tightened the bolts up with a rachet. This exercise will tighten up your stomach muscles. Tighten your belt up so your pants don't fall down.
2. To become tight or tighter: I knew I had a fish when the line suddenly tightened up. After the run, I walked around the track so my muscles wouldn't tighten up. I tightened up on the handlebars as I went over the bump.
3. To make something more strict or secure: The government is trying to tighten up the tax code. The country has tightened its borders up to prevent drug smuggling.
4. To become more strict or secure: Airline security has tightened up, and now all luggage must be scanned.
5. To make something more disciplined: The company is tightening up their management in an effort to reduce wasteful spending. The author has tightened the story up by deleting irrelevant details.
6. To become more disciplined: The team has tightened up under the leadership of the new coach.
See also: tighten, up

tighten one’s belt

tv. to prepare for economies. (see also take one’s belt in (a notch).) The entire country will have to tighten its belt.
See also: belt, tighten

tighten (one's) belt

To begin to exercise thrift and frugality.
See also: belt, tighten
References in periodicals archive ?
Gray has treated to tighten loose skin are the face and jowls, neck, brow, arms, knees, and the abdominal area.
He said, 'We will tighten monetary policy to check inflation.
Japan has to live with a falling population, but the resultant natural decline in the labor force will tighten the labor market as the economy recovers under structural improvement.
Release date- 22052013 - Half the banks in the Netherlands continued to tighten their credit standards for loans to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the first quarter of 2013.
While such a bias did not necessarily imply an intention to tighten policy during the weeks immediately ahead, it was consistent with the members' view that the risks were in the direction of a potential need for some tightening in monetary policy to counter rising inflationary pressures, and that they might be required to make such a decision in the not-too-distant future.
These thick coatings make nuts and bolts difficult to remove, prevent movable parts such as door hinges from sliding smoothly and interfere with efforts to tighten bolts to a specified degree.
Global Banking News-May 2, 2012--RBI seeks to tighten shadow-banking rules(C)2012 ENPublishing - http://www.
As a result, some mechanics don't tighten the stud nut enough while others tighten it too much.
What is not clear is whether this will persist if the Fed continues to tighten.
Global Banking News-February 16, 2012--Polish banks tighten business lending(C)2012 ENPublishing - http://www.
Tighten the head harness straps so they are snug, but not so snug that you can't stick a finger under each strap.
Members who saw an advantage in postponing a decision to tighten policy commented that, in light of some scattered signs of a moderating expansion, it would be helpful to wait for certain key statistics that would become available within the next few weeks to judge the extent of any moderation.
Global Banking News-February 2, 2012--European banks could tighten lending standards(C)2012 ENPublishing - http://www.
It's nearly impossible to tighten the binges while keeping the door aligned so that the latch will work when you're finished.
The Committee needed to be "watchful," he said, but didn't need to tighten rates at this meeting.