apron-string hold

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apron-string hold (plural apron-string holds)

  1. (idiomatic, obsolete, informal) An estate held by a man during his wife's life.
    • 1872, W. O. von Horn, The Rhine: History and Legends of Its Castles, Abbeys, Monasteries, and Towns, J. Niedner, page 270:
      He resided at Staleck and the fief made was converted into an "apron-string hold" and hereditary fief, for the benefit of his wife and daughter; for that in opposition to the Emperor himself, he had remained firm to the Archbishop in a Diet held at Mainz.