Definition 2024





leading-string (plural leading-strings)

  1. (historical, chiefly in the plural) Strings with which children were formerly guided while they were learning to walk.
    • 1749, Henry Fielding, Tom Jones, Folio Society 1973, p. 396:
      her lover [...] treated me in all respects as a perfect infant. To say the truth, I wonder she had not insisted on my again wearing leading-strings.
    • 2002, Colin Jones, The Great Nation, Penguin 2003, p. 74:
      Highly protective – Louis wore leading strings until he was seven, a corset for his posture until he was ten – his guardians cocooned him from a wide range of normal childhood experiences.