hold the reins

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

A metaphor, based on the usual method of controlling a horse or a team of horses.

Verb[edit]

hold the reins

  1. (idiomatic) To be in charge, to be in control, as of a business, political organization, or other group.
    • 1918, "Washington Believes Foch Will Still Accept Envoys' Signatures," Toronto World, Nov. 11, p. 1:
      These terms . . . will place the future behavior of Germany at the dictation of the associated powers regardless of what form of provisional government may hold the reins at Berlin.
    • 1996, Michael Serrill, "Mexico's Black Mood," Time, 7 Oct.:
      The convention also delivered a slap to the technocrats who have held the reins of government for more than a decade.
    • 2003, Cathy Lynn Grossman, "Baptist missionaries at odds with church," USA Today, 20 April:
      While conservatives hold the reins at the SBC, moderates have retained control of the Baptist General Convention of Texas.

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