Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English homepage

Topic: HORSES

Date: 1200-1300
Language: Old French
Origin: rene, from Latin retinere; RETAIN

rein

1 noun
     
rein1
1DSH [countable usually plural] a long narrow band of leather that is fastened around a horse's head in order to control it [↪ bridle]
2

give (full/free) rein to something

to allow an emotion or feeling to be expressed freely:
He gave free rein to his imagination.
3

give somebody (a) free rein

to give someone complete freedom to do a job in whatever way they choose
4

keep a tight rein on somebody/something

to control something strictly:
The finance director keeps a tight rein on spending.
5

take/hand over the reins

to take or give someone control over an organization or country:
Owens will officially take over the reins in a few weeks.
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