on a string

(redirected from keep someone on a string)

on a string

Under someone's control, influence, or manipulation. She kept teasing him with the possibility of a relationship in order to keep him on a string, convincing him buy her clothes and pay for her rent. The boss really has the new intern on a string. If he so much as coughs, he'll come running into his office to see what he can do for him.
See also: on, string

*on a string

Fig. under control, as one would control a marionette. (*Typically: get someone ~; have someone ~; keep someone ~.) She keeps him on a string so he won't get involved with other women.
See also: on, string

on a string

Under someone's control, as in She'll drop everything whenever Sam asks for something-he's got her on a string. This expression, alluding to pulling an animal on a leash, dates from the late 1500s, when it was put as in a string.
See also: on, string

on a string

under your control or influence.
The idea here is of a puppeteer manipulating a puppet by its strings.
See also: on, string

on a

/the string
Under one's complete control or influence.
See also: on
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