Idiom:  keep someone on a tight leash

Two dogs are sitting outside and are tied up with leashes so they can't wander away: Carol keeps us on a tight leash when we're in the city.


Idiom:  keep someone on a tight leash (keep someone on a short leash)

  • to closely control someone’s actions and allow them very little freedom to do the things they want to do.

Note:  A leash is a strap or rope that is used to restrain a dog or other animal  (see the picture at the right).  A dog wears a collar around it's neck and the leash is attached to the collar.

Example sentences

— It’s amazing she stays with that man when he always keeps her on a tight leash.

— Since I made a huge mistake in our quarterly report, my boss has been keeping me on a short leash.

— I have to keep my two-year old son on a tight leash or he'll get a mile away in two minutes.

— We'll have to keep our teenager on a short leash during her first year of college.

— Wow, you have to call your parents every evening?  They really keep you on a tight leash.

— With the iPhone's location feature my dad keeps me on a short leash.

— Let's keep the new accounting assistant on a tight leash during her probation period.

— I quit my job because I was kept on such a tight leash I couldn't do even the simplest task without supervision.

— We keep the tour group on a tight leash whenever we pass through customs and immigration to make sure everyone gets through.

— You're 16 years old and you can't go to the mall by yourself? Why do your parents keep you on such a short leash?


  • have someone on a string
  • in someone's clutches

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