purse



loosen the purse strings

To become more liberal with one's expenditures; to increase the availability of money for spending purposes. After having to count my pennies for so long, it's nice to be able to loosen the purse strings a bit! We'd have a much better and more stable product if the boss would loosen the purse strings a little.
See also: loosen, purse, string

tighten the purse strings

To become less liberal with or more controlling of one's expenditures; to decrease the availability of money for spending purposes. After losing my job, I've had to tighten the purse strings quite a bit. We've been behind schedule ever since the boss decided to tighten the purse strings on our project.
See also: purse, string, tighten

purse strings

The spending power of a given group, such as a family, company, country, etc. Their government is going to have to learn to tighten the purse strings if they want to continue receiving bailout money from the IMF. After my dad's gambling problem came to light, it was my mother who started holding the purse strings.
See also: purse, string

make a silk purse of a sow's ear

To fashion something beautiful or valuable out of poor materials. Often used in the negative, such as "cannot make a silk purse of a sow's ear." What do you want me to do with this tacky dress? I can't make a silk purse of a sow's ear!
See also: ear, make, of, purse, silk

a heavy purse makes a light heart

If you are financially secure, you will not worry. Money doesn't buy happiness, but it sure helps to solve a lot of life's little problems. A heavy purse makes a light heart.
See also: heart, heavy, light, make, purse

control the purse strings

 and hold the purse strings
Fig. to be in charge of the money in a business or a household. I control the purse strings at our house. Mr. Williams is the treasurer. He controls the purse strings.
See also: control, purse, string

He that hath a full purse never wanted a friend.

Prov. A rich person always has plenty of friends. Jill: Ever since Joe won the lottery, he's been getting congratulations from friends and relatives he hasn't heard from in years. Jane: You know how it is. He that hath a full purse never wanted a friend.
See also: friend, full, hath, he, never, purse, want

A heavy purse makes a light heart.

Prov. If you have plenty of money, you will feel happy and secure. Everyone in the office is especially cheerful on payday, since a heavy purse makes a light heart.
See also: heart, heavy, light, make, purse

light purse makes a heavy heart

Prov. If you do not have enough money, you will worry and be unhappy. Nathan is a cheerful person by nature, but since he lost his job, worry has made him glum. A light purse makes a heavy heart.
See also: heart, heavy, light, make, purse

Little and often fills the purse.

Prov. If you get a little bit of money frequently, you will always have enough. Jill: I don't think I'll ever be able to save very much; I can only afford to save such a little bit of money from every paycheck. Jane: Ah, but little and often fills the purse.
See also: and, fill, little, often, purse

purse something up

to bunch or pucker something up. (Usually the lips.) When he tasted the lemon juice, he pursed his lips up and spat it out. Don pursed up his lips as if to spit it out.
See also: purse, up

You cannot make a silk purse out of a sow's ear.

Prov. You cannot make someone more refined than he or she is by nature. I've given up trying to get my cousin to appreciate classical music. You can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear.
See also: cannot, ear, make, of, out, purse, silk

hold the purse strings

to control the spending of a family's or an organization's money In our house it was my mother who held the purse strings.
See also: hold, purse, string

You can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear.

  (old-fashioned)
something that you say which means you cannot make a good quality product using bad quality materials To make chairs that'll last, you need good strong pieces of wood. You can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear.
See also: ear, make, of, out, purse, silk

can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear

Be unable to turn something ugly or inferior into something attractive or of value, as in No matter how expensive his clothes, he still looks sloppy-you can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear . This expression was already a proverb in the mid-1500s.
See also: ear, make, of, out, purse, silk

purse strings

Financial resources or control of them, as in His mother doesn't want to let go of the purse strings because he may make some foolish investments . This expression is often extended to hold or tighten or loosen the purse strings , as in As long as Dad holds the purse strings, we have to consider his wishes, or The company is tightening the purse strings and will not be hiring many new people this year . The purse strings in this idiom are the means of opening and closing a drawstring purse. [Early 1400s]
See also: purse, string

Common Names:

NameGenderPronouncedUsage
Gurmeet-Indian (Sikh)
Benjaminas-Lithuanian
Hrothulf-Anglo-Saxon (Latinized)
Tine (2)-Slovene
Antoninoahn-to-NEE-noItalian
Lottie['lɔti]