clip someone's wings, to

clip someone's wings

Fig. to restrain someone; to reduce or put an end to someone's privileges. (Alludes to clipping a bird's wings to keep it from flying away.) You had better learn to get home on time, or I will clip your wings. My mother clipped my wings. I can't go out tonight.
See also: clip, wing

clip someone's wings

Restrain or reduce someone's freedom, as in Hiding his car keys-you're really clipping his wings. This metaphor for clipping a bird's wings to prevent its flying away dates from ancient Roman times. Christopher Marlowe used it in The Massacre at Paris (1590): "Away to prison with him, I'll clip his wings."
See also: clip, wing

clip someone's wings

COMMON If someone clips your wings, they limit your freedom to do what you want. Since then, these companies have become big business, with no government having the courage to clip their wings. Congress tried to clip his wings and cancel his referendum. Note: People sometimes clip the wings of birds to prevent them from flying away.
See also: clip, wing

clip someone's wings

prevent someone from acting freely.
Clip someone's wings comes from the phrase clip a bird's wings , which means ‘trim the feathers of a bird so that it cannot fly’.
See also: clip, wing

clip someone's wings, to

To deflate a conceited person. Although at first glance this phrase might seem to have a military origin (from demoting an officer whose rank is indicated by wings), the metaphor actually comes from birds— specifically, the practice of clipping the wings of domestic fowl so they cannot fly away—and dates from ancient Roman times. “Away to prison with him, I’ll clippe his winges,” wrote Christopher Marlowe (The Massacre at Paris, 1590, 3.2).
See also: clip