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  1. #1
    Olenek's Avatar
    Olenek is offline Junior Member
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    Default on a short leash

    Hi everybody,

    Idioms "To keep/ have someone on a short/ tight leash/ string" and "To keep a tight rein on someone" mean to control someone's activity completely.


    Which of them is more common in your country?
    Or do you use other idioms with the same sense?

    Many Thanks for all your answers!

  2. #2
    goldflinger is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: on a short leash

    in england we say "under the thumb" when it involves people in a relationship...
    on a short leash means to keep an eye on someone at a workplace or similar

  3. #3
    Olenek's Avatar
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    Default Re: on a short leash

    And perhaps one more is "to have someone in your pocket" - to have power over someone, to control him.

  4. #4
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    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Default Re: on a short leash

    Quote Originally Posted by goldflinger View Post
    in england we say "under the thumb" when it involves people in a relationship...
    on a short leash means to keep an eye on someone at a workplace or similar
    I'm not sure why you didn't agree with 'to control someone's activity completely'. It seems to me that the whole workplace thing is a red herring.

    (The point of a short leash - in the original context of giving a dog very little latitude - is physical control; when you keep someone on a short leash [never, Olenek, string] you do more than just keep an eye on them.)

    b

  5. #5
    goldflinger is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: on a short leash

    to control somebody completely one may have to incarcerate them ...i didn't disagree i merely offered an alternative point of view
    the "workplace" was an example ....im not argumentative either that's an assumption that you alone jumped to
    and the real point my friend was not the leash at all more the analogy of the restraint......
    something it appears you have little of
    i was taught if you have nothing "GOOD" to add, then add nothing



    if your bored make a box everybody needs a box or two

  6. #6
    BobK's Avatar
    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Default Re: on a short leash

    In this forum, if you've nothing accurate to add, then add nothing -

    b

  7. #7
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: on a short leash

    Quote Originally Posted by Olenek View Post
    And perhaps one more is "to have someone in your pocket" - to have power over someone, to control him.
    That one is different to me- if you have someone on a short leash, you don't give them much freedom, but if you have them in your pocket, would refer more to corrupt relationships, like crooked politicians, etc.

  8. #8
    SanMar's Avatar
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    Default Re: on a short leash

    If it is an extremely short leash ... you got them by the short and curly.
    I wouldn't consider this rude but it isn't exactly polite. I wouldn't use it in a formal situation, actually I might, but most wouldn't.


    Not a teacher.

  9. #9
    freezeframe is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: on a short leash

    To be tied to her (wife's/mother's/gf's) apron strings = when a guy is either too attached to his mommy or if his wife/gf controls him too much

    to have someone wrapped around your finger = control someone or manipulate them

    to be under someone's heel/have someone under your heel

  10. #10
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: on a short leash

    Quote Originally Posted by SanMar View Post
    If it is an extremely short leash ... you got them by the short and curly.
    In BrE, I hear the short and curlies used.

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