apron string

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apron string (plural apron strings)

  1. One of the pair of strings or narrow sewn clothstrips used to fasten an apron around the wearer's waist.
  2. (idiomatic, usually pluralized) A symbol of the domestic ties binding a male to a female (as a husband to a wife or a son to a mother).
    • 1852, William Makepeace Thackeray, chapter 7, in The History of Henry Esmond, Esq.:
      [T]he opinion of the country was that my lord was tied to his wife's apron-strings, and that she ruled over him.
    • 1914, Thornton W. Burgess, chapter 1, in The Adventures of Jerry Muskrat:
      "Pooh!" said Jerry, throwing out his chest, "I guess I can take care of myself without being tied to my mother's apron strings!"

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