free reign

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Corruption (eggcorn) of free rein (literally to relax reins (on a horse)), replacing rein with reign (to rule).

Noun[edit]

free reign

  1. common misconstruction of free rein

Usage notes[edit]

As of 2007, 46% of Americans use free reign rather than free rein, and accordingly, the OED now considers it an acceptable variant.

References[edit]