leading strings

plural noun
\ˈlē-\

Definition of leading strings 

1 : strings by which children are sometimes supported when beginning to walk

2 : a state of dependence or tutelage : guidance leading strings had been so willingly accepted that they were scarcely felt— E. M. Forster usually used in the phrase in leading strings no longer in leading strings to his wife or his wife's father— Francis Hackettpassed his whole adolescence in his mother's leading strings— Van Wyck Brooks

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