One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A string, or each of a pair of strings, which may be drawn to close the mouth of a purse; a drawstring. In later use chiefly in similative expressions.
2Figurative. Chiefly in plural, especially in various phrases relating to the control of money, as "to hold the purse strings": to control expenditure.
Late Middle English; earliest use found in The Book of Margery Kempe. From purse + string.
purse string/ˈpəː(s) strɪŋ/
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