keep a tight rein on someone/something

keep a tight rein on (someone or something)

To maintain strict or tight control over someone or something; to not allow someone or something very much independence or autonomy. Ever since George nearly lost his life savings in a drunken poker match, his husband has started keeping a tight rein on him. The boss has kept a tight rein on her assistant since she hired her. We try to keep a tight rein on our expenditures, but that's not always possible.
See also: keep, on, rein, tight
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

keep a tight rein on someone/something


keep someone/something on a tight rein

COMMON If you keep a tight rein on someone or something or keep them on a tight rein, you control them firmly and carefully. Note: The reference in these expressions is to a rider using the reins to control a horse. It is said that he kept a very tight rein on his daughters, and that he was a very strict father. The recession has forced people to keep a very tight rein on their finances when on holiday. Her parents had kept her on a tight rein.
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012
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