call the tune

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Related to calling the tune: He who pays the piper calls the tune

call the tune

To dictate how a situation or agenda proceeds, as from a position of authority. The phrase is a shortened version of "Who pays the piper calls the tune," which means that the person who pays for something assumes control over it. My staff has to do what I say because I'm the boss, and I call the tune here! Mom calls the tune for Thanksgiving dinner, so you better get her approval for any dish you want to bring.
See also: call, tune
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

call the tune

Make important decisions, exercise authority, as in Nancy said that it's her turn to call the tune. The full term is Who pays the piper calls the tune, meaning whoever bears the cost of an enterprise should have authority over it. [Late 1800s] Also see the synonym call the shots.
See also: call, tune
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

call the tune

COMMON If someone calls the tune, they are in control of a situation and make all the important decisions. If managers tried to get players to come back in the afternoon they'd have a riot on their hands. The players call the tune these days. Whether you're talking plant-breeding or choice of seed, supermarkets call the tune. Note: This expression comes from the proverb `he who pays the piper calls the tune'.
See also: call, tune
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

call the ˈshots/the ˈtune

(informal) be in control: Ask Jenny — she’s the one who calls the shots around here.
See also: call, shot, tune
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

call the

shots/tune Informal
To exercise authority; be in charge.
See also: call
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
See also:
References in periodicals archive ?
NEWSBOY 1-2-3 1 HAMELIN 2 GROUNDBREAKING 3 HAVANA COOLER HAMELIN, lightly raced and with every chance of taking another step forward back on quicker terrain, is capable of calling the tune.
CORONATION Street leading lady Elsie Tanner is back - and, as usual, she's calling the tune.
Satellite telly's twin pillars, Sky and ESPN, are calling the tune and fitting in Scottish football wherever they can.
They will have to get used to living on normal incomes and paying their taxes now that the taxpayer is propping them up and calling the tune as a result" - GMB general secretary Paul Kenny.
Much will depend upon the way Park's back row perform and the experienced Neil Ryan likely to be calling the tune at stand-off.
The front five dominated the opposition pack in Widnes, with the nimble I fan Jones calling the tune at scrum- half for the best result of any North Wales age group against Lancs.
The Argentinian - a Wimbledon finalist in 2002 and seeded four in Basle - was always calling the tune and progressed 6-2 6-4 in one hour and 24 minutes.