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
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

*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
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

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
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.

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
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
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