tighten

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Related to tightened: touch base

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 the screw(s) (on someone)

To exert excessive and coercive pressure, force, or threats of violence on someone. The bank has really started tightening the screws on me ever since I began missing my mortgage payments. I'll send one of my strong men around to him tomorrow to tighten the screw. Then we'll see if little Johnny's still so sure he won't sign the contract.
See also: 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

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 your belt

COMMON If you tighten your belt, you make an effort to spend less money. Clearly, if you are spending more than your income, you'll need to tighten your belt. He recently announced the club will have to tighten its belt next season, saying he will lower wages and sell players. Note: You can also talk about belt tightening. Yesterday's vote means that the Greeks are prepared to accept a period of belt tightening. The nation's second largest bank announced a series of layoffs and other belt-tightening measures today to counteract heavy losses.
See also: belt, tighten

tighten the purse strings

or

tighten your purse strings

If you tighten the purse strings or tighten your purse strings, you reduce the amount of money that can be spent. Election promises must be delayed while the government tightens its purse strings.
See also: purse, string, tighten

turn the screw on someone

or

tighten the screw on someone

INFORMAL
COMMON If someone turns the screw on you or tightens the screw on you, they do something in order to defeat you or in order to make you do what they want. The supermarkets group turned the screw on its troubled rival yesterday, revealing strong sales figures and an expansion of its network. The attacks are seen as an attempt to tighten the screw still further on the government. Note: You can also simply say that someone turns the screw or tightens the screw. Perhaps it's a final attempt to turn the screw and squeeze a last concession out of us. Note: You can also use the plural screws in these expressions. The quickest way to end the violence is surely to tighten the screws on the leader. Note: You can call each action done to defeat or put pressure on someone a turn of the screw or a tightening of the screw. Every rebel raid, however small, is another turn of the screw, increasing the pressure on the President. Opposition parties see the changes as a further tightening of the screw. Note: This is a reference to a method of torture called the thumbscrew. The prisoner's thumbs were pressed between two bars of iron which were then tightened by means of a screw.
See also: on, screw, turn

tighten up

v.
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 ?
The apex bank said, 'Private sector growth is now so strong that fiscal policy should be tightened, thus bringing the structural budget in balance over the next couple of years.
The Border Service of Kyrgyzstan announced today that it has tightened security measures on borders.
This most recent tightening occurred in late November, and was the eighth time this year that the bank tightened rates.
A possible reason for the higher course load is that both the California State and University of California systems have tightened their enrollments of students transferring from community colleges.
As a result, the global wheat stocks-to-use ratio has tightened to near 30-year lows.
I think they tightened up too much last year," Enron CEO Ken Lay told me at a Washington, D.
Moreover, such entries as 675 and 1062 could be radically tightened if relevant entry numbers were substituted for titles, and much space could be gained simply by using initials rather than full first names (especially for reviewers, but perhaps also for references to Milton's works and to Milton himself).
While wage increases remained moderate on balance, larger increases were gradually becoming more pervasive as labor markets tightened.
Average asking rents overall tightened slightly, hovering at approximately $32.
Similarly, lending standards for non-merger-related business loans were tightened further during the final period, but the pace of tightening slowed from earlier periods.
Credit spreads have tightened over the last three months, with the five-year point tightening from 61 basis points (bps) to 55 bps, a decrease of -10%.
Credit standards for corporate loans were tightened further in the first quarter of 2013.
2 trillion and 23 foreign banks, said nearly two-thirds of domestic banks reported having tightened lending standards on commercial and industrial (C&I) loans to large and middle-market firms over the preceding three months.
So make sure studs and nuts are properly cleaned, inspected and tightened.