pull the strings


Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Encyclopedia.

pull the strings

To have the real control over a person or organization, especially in secret or without it being public knowledge. Many people suspect that major corporations are really pulling the strings of the government. Although the president of the company has the final say in all these matters, in truth it is really his daughter who pulls the strings.
See also: pull, string

pull the strings

COMMON If someone pulls the strings, they control everything that another person or an organization does, often in a way that is not noticed by people. He engineered many of these political changes, pulling the strings from behind the stage. He is the kind of man who prefers to work behind the scenes, pulling the strings. Note: The image here is of a puppet which is controlled by means of strings.
See also: pull, string

pull the strings

be in control of events or of other people's actions.
See also: pull, string

pull the ˈstrings

(secretly) control the actions of other people: I don’t understand this situation at all. I want to know exactly who is pulling the strings.
These two expressions refer to the strings that are attached to a puppet (= a model of a person or an animal) that you pull to make different parts of its body move.
See also: pull, string
References in periodicals archive ?
But it's not good news for Celtic as his absence means Barcelona's maestro won't be there to pull the strings when they play Ajax in match five of Group H.
For this reason, he spends a lot more ink writing about the corporate elites who pull the strings of both major-party Presidential campaigns, as well as profiling Americans who are working at the grassroots level to cut some of those strings.
The Italians rely heavily on Andrea Pirlo and Mario Balotelli (right), one to pull the strings, the other to pull everything else.
vas Owen Farrell was excellent and I expect him to pull the strings against a French team who have not impressed me much.
Paul and David March will be able to pull the strings from on the field, whereas Oldham skipper Robert Roberts is out with a knee injury.
But they were pegged back as Jimmy Lawson and Terry Dolan started to pull the strings in midfield.
Full browser ?