tighten


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tighten the purse strings

To become less liberal with or more controlling of one's expenditures; to decrease the availability of money for spending purposes. After losing my job, I've had to tighten the purse strings quite a bit. We've been behind schedule ever since the boss decided to tighten the purse strings on our project.
See also: purse, string, tighten

purse strings

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.
See also: purse, string

tighten the reins

To begin doing something more carefully or cautiously; to regain or tighten control of someone or something. This thesis you're planning is becoming unfocused. I think you should tighten the reins a bit. I wish those parents would tighten the rein on their kids, the little devils are tearing the place apart!
See also: reins, tighten

tighten the screw(s) (on one)

To exert excessive and coercive pressure, force, or threats of violence on one. The bank has really started tightening the screws on me ever since I began missing my mortgage payments. I'll send one of my strong men around to him tomorrow to tighten the screw. Then we'll see if little Johnny's still so sure he won't sign the contract.
See also: tighten

tighten the screws on (one)

To exert excessive and coercive pressure, force, or threats of violence on one. The bank has really started tightening the screws on me ever since I began missing my mortgage payments. I'll send one of my strong men around to him tomorrow to tighten the screws on him. Then we'll see if he's still so sure he won't sign the contract.
See also: on, screw, tighten

tighten (one's) belt

To reduce, restrict, or limit one's budget; to live more modestly or make financial sacrifices. A: "I don't know what we'll do now that you lost your job." B: "Don't worry, we just need to tighten our belts for a while. Living on my own during college taught me how to tighten my belt and get by on not very much.
See also: belt, tighten

tighten up

1. To become tighter. I could see her shoulders tighten up when I suggested having my mother stay with us for a while. This valve has been tightening up from rust accumulating over the years.
2. To cause something to become tighter. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "tighten" and "up." Make sure you regularly tighten everything up on your bike—it all gets loose over time. I tightened up my grip on my purse as I passed through the dark alley.
3. To become more strict or restrictive. Security has tightened up in airports around the world in response to the attacks. Once fairly lax in its admission policy, the police force has tightened up considerably in recent years.
4. To cause something to become more strict or restrictive. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "tighten" and "up." As stories of ransomware become more common, we're continuing to tighten up our cyber-security software suite for business customers. Our country will never reach its full potential until we tighten our borders up against unlawful immigration.
5. To become disciplined, well organized, and efficient. Our department has really tightened up in the last year ever since the new boss took over. Everyone in this team needs to tighten up if we want to have any shot of making it to the playoffs this year!
6. To cause someone or something become disciplined, well organized, and efficient. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "tighten" and "up." The new CEO has made it his mission to tighten up the company and return it to a profit within this fiscal year. The team has a lot of raw talent and potential, but you'll need to really tighten them up if they're going to find any consistent success.
See also: tighten, up

tighten one's belt

Fig. to manage to spend less money; to use less of something. (See also take one's belt in (a notch).) Things are beginning to cost more and more. It looks like we'll all have to tighten our belts. Times are hard, and prices are high. I can tighten my belt for only so long.
See also: belt, tighten

tighten something on(to) something

to make something more tightly attached to something. Will you please tighten this nut onto the bolt? I tightened the lid on the pickle jar.
See also: on, tighten

tighten something up

to make something tighter. Tighten your seat belt up. It looks loose. Can you tighten up all the bolts?
See also: tighten, up

tighten up

 
1. Lit. [for something] to get tighter. The door hinges began to tighten up, making the door hard to open and close. His grip around the handle tightened up and he refused to let go.
2. Fig. [for someone or a group] to become miserly. The government tightened up and our budget was slashed. We almost went out of business when we couldn't get credit because the bank tightened up.
3. Fig. [for someone or something] to become more restrictive. The boss is tightening up on new hiring. There are more rules and the people who enforce them are tightening up.
See also: tighten, up

purse strings

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]
See also: purse, string

tighten one's belt

Spend less, be more frugal, as in Business has been bad, so we'll have to tighten our belts. This metaphoric term alludes to pulling in one's belt after losing weight from not having enough to eat. [First half of 1900s]
See also: belt, tighten

tighten the screws

see under turn up the heat.
See also: screw, tighten

turn up the heat on

Also, put the heat or screws or squeeze on ; tighten the screws on. Pressure someone, as in The cops turned up the heat on drivers who show signs of drunkenness, or They said they'd tighten the screws on her if she didn't confess. All of these slangy terms allude to forms of physical coercion or torture. The first dates from about 1930, the variants using screws from the mid-1800s, and squeeze from the late 1700s.
See also: heat, on, turn, up

tighten your belt

COMMON If you tighten your belt, you make an effort to spend less money. Clearly, if you are spending more than your income, you'll need to tighten your belt. He recently announced the club will have to tighten its belt next season, saying he will lower wages and sell players. Note: You can also talk about belt tightening. Yesterday's vote means that the Greeks are prepared to accept a period of belt tightening. The nation's second largest bank announced a series of layoffs and other belt-tightening measures today to counteract heavy losses.
See also: belt, tighten

tighten the purse strings

or

tighten your purse strings

If you tighten the purse strings or tighten your purse strings, you reduce the amount of money that can be spent. Election promises must be delayed while the government tightens its purse strings.
See also: purse, string, tighten

turn the screw on someone

or

tighten the screw on someone

INFORMAL
COMMON If someone turns the screw on you or tightens the screw on you, they do something in order to defeat you or in order to make you do what they want. The supermarkets group turned the screw on its troubled rival yesterday, revealing strong sales figures and an expansion of its network. The attacks are seen as an attempt to tighten the screw still further on the government. Note: You can also simply say that someone turns the screw or tightens the screw. Perhaps it's a final attempt to turn the screw and squeeze a last concession out of us. Note: You can also use the plural screws in these expressions. The quickest way to end the violence is surely to tighten the screws on the leader. Note: You can call each action done to defeat or put pressure on someone a turn of the screw or a tightening of the screw. Every rebel raid, however small, is another turn of the screw, increasing the pressure on the President. Opposition parties see the changes as a further tightening of the screw. Note: This is a reference to a method of torture called the thumbscrew. The prisoner's thumbs were pressed between two bars of iron which were then tightened by means of a screw.
See also: on, screw, someone, turn

tighten your belt

cut your expenditure; live more frugally.
See also: belt, tighten

tighten (or turn) the screw (or screws)

exert strong pressure on someone. informal
See also: screw, tighten

tighten your ˈbelt

spend less money, eat less food, etc. because there is little available: In wartime everyone has to tighten their belts.We’ll have to tighten our belts if we want to save any money for a summer break this year. OPPOSITE: throw your money about/around ▶ ˈbelt-tightening noun: Continued government belt-tightening has helped to reduce public debt.
See also: belt, tighten

tighten up

v.
1. To make something tight or tighter: I pulled on the ends of the string to tighten up the knot. The mechanic tightened the bolts up with a rachet. This exercise will tighten up your stomach muscles. Tighten your belt up so your pants don't fall down.
2. To become tight or tighter: I knew I had a fish when the line suddenly tightened up. After the run, I walked around the track so my muscles wouldn't tighten up. I tightened up on the handlebars as I went over the bump.
3. To make something more strict or secure: The government is trying to tighten up the tax code. The country has tightened its borders up to prevent drug smuggling.
4. To become more strict or secure: Airline security has tightened up, and now all luggage must be scanned.
5. To make something more disciplined: The company is tightening up their management in an effort to reduce wasteful spending. The author has tightened the story up by deleting irrelevant details.
6. To become more disciplined: The team has tightened up under the leadership of the new coach.
See also: tighten, up

tighten one’s belt

tv. to prepare for economies. (see also take one’s belt in (a notch).) The entire country will have to tighten its belt.
See also: belt, tighten

tighten (one's) belt

To begin to exercise thrift and frugality.
See also: belt, tighten
References in periodicals archive ?
If they do not agree, lift the scope out, tighten the front top ring back into place and use the wooden rod to turn it in the needed direction.
The accompanying diagrams delineate some of the things that defensive coverage can do to read the patterns, get a jump on the receivers, and tighten the coverage.
And while rental concessions are unlikely to move appreciably in either direction over the short-term, owners are beginning to tighten workletter and free rent packages
are properly using carefully calibrated tools designed to tighten bolts to a specified degree.
In the short-term (three to five years), Japan's shrinking population (expected to start falling by 2007) will shrink the labor force, tighten labor market conditions, and lower the jobless rate.
Global Banking News-October 23, 2013--Central bank of Ghana could tighten policy rates(C)2013 ENPublishing - http://www.
While such a bias did not necessarily imply an intention to tighten policy during the weeks immediately ahead, it was consistent with the members' view that the risks were in the direction of a potential need for some tightening in monetary policy to counter rising inflationary pressures, and that they might be required to make such a decision in the not-too-distant future.
The bank, which had raised its lending rate further at this month's meeting, is expected to tighten rates further as long as the pressure on its currency continues.
As a result, some mechanics don't tighten the stud nut enough while others tighten it too much.
What is not clear is whether this will persist if the Fed continues to tighten.
Global Banking News-May 24, 2013--DNB-Banks continue to tighten credit standards for SMEs(C)2013 ENPublishing - http://www.
It's nearly impossible to tighten the binges while keeping the door aligned so that the latch will work when you're finished.
Members who saw an advantage in postponing a decision to tighten policy commented that, in light of some scattered signs of a moderating expansion, it would be helpful to wait for certain key statistics that would become available within the next few weeks to judge the extent of any moderation.
Global Banking News-May 2, 2012--RBI seeks to tighten shadow-banking rules(C)2012 ENPublishing - http://www.
The Committee needed to be "watchful," he said, but didn't need to tighten rates at this meeting.