phrases, sayings, proverbs and idioms at

The Phrase Finder

Home button Home | Search the website Search | Phrase Dictionary | Strain at the leash

The meaning and origin of the expression: Strain at the leash

Browse phrases beginning with:
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T UV W XYZ Full List

Strain at the leash

Other phrases about:


Be enthusiastic to free oneself from the restrictions that bar one's progress.


The allusion is, of course, to a dog held on a lead and straining to go faster. Sir Walter Scott was the first to use it in literature. He included the expression in The Talisman, 1825:

"King Richard looked... at the Nubian and his dog; but the former moved not, nor did the latter strain at the leash."

See also - phrases coined by Sir Walter Scott.