Also found in: Dictionary.
The spending power of a given group, such as a family, company, country, etc. Their government is going to have to learn to tighten the purse strings if they want to continue receiving bailout money from the IMF. After my dad's gambling problem came to light, it was my mother who started holding the purse strings.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
Financial resources or control of them, as in His mother doesn't want to let go of the purse strings because he may make some foolish investments . This expression is often extended to hold or tighten or loosen the purse strings , as in As long as Dad holds the purse strings, we have to consider his wishes, or The company is tightening the purse strings and will not be hiring many new people this year . The purse strings in this idiom are the means of opening and closing a drawstring purse. [Early 1400s]
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.
- (Someone or something) called, they want their (something) back!
- pick (one's) pocket
- pick somebody's pocket
- a bad apple spoils the (whole) barrel
- a rotten apple spoils the (whole) barrel
- a rotten apple spoils the (whole) bunch
- a rotten apple spoils the (whole) bushel
- one bad apple spoils the (whole) bushel