Take the reins

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Take the reins is an idiom that has been in use for hundreds of years. We will examine the meaning of the common saying take the reins, where it came from, and some examples of its idiomatic usage in sentences.

Take the reins means to take charge, to take control, to steer a government, company, organization, or situation. The expression take the reins exploded into popular use in the 1750s, though it had been a well-known idiom for a long time before the 1750s. The image take the reins evokes is of a rider steering a horse by means of reins on a bridle. Related phrases are takes the reins, took the reins, taken the reins, taking the reins.


It’s not going to happen overnight, but with some patience, the hope is that the Pistons can have the core of a winning team in a couple of years when the rookies start to take the reins from Griffin and Rose. (Detroit News)

The new Idaho National Laboratory director is ready to take the reins of the nation’s leading center for nuclear energy research and development. (East Idaho News)

Will the Egyptian president try, like his predecessor Hosni Mubarak, to prepare his eldest son to take the reins? (Africa Report)