Apron string – Definition & Meaning

Apron string is a phrase that is commonly used in the English language. It is a term that has been around for centuries and has a rich history behind it. The phrase is often used to describe the close relationship between a mother and her child, especially her son. In this article, we will explore the different definitions, origins, and meanings of apron string.


The term apron string refers to the strings or ties that are used to secure an apron around the waist. In a figurative sense, it is used to describe a close or dependent relationship between a mother and her child, particularly a son. The phrase can also be used to describe someone who is overly dependent on another person, especially their mother.


The phrase apron string has been around since the 17th century. It is believed to have originated in England, where women would wear aprons as part of their daily attire. The strings used to tie the apron around the waist would often become worn and frayed over time, and the phrase apron string was used to describe something that was weak or easily broken.

Meaning in different dictionaries

The meaning of apron string can vary depending on the dictionary you consult. Here are some of the definitions you may come across:

  • Merriam-Webster: the string or cord by which an apron is tied around the waist.
  • Oxford English Dictionary: a mother’s influence, especially when it is seen as excessive or undesirable.
  • Collins English Dictionary: a mother’s influence, especially when it is thought to be harmful or excessive.


The phrase apron string is often associated with the idea of a mother’s love and protection. It can also be associated with the idea of a child who is overly dependent on their mother, or who has difficulty separating from her.


There are several synonyms for apron string, including:

  • Mama’s boy.
  • Helicopter parent.
  • Overprotective.
  • Enmeshment.


The antonyms of apron string include:

  • Independence.
  • Autonomy.
  • Self-sufficiency.
  • Separation.

The same root words

The phrase apron string does not have any root words, as it is a compound noun made up of two separate words.

Example Sentences

Here are some example sentences that use the phrase apron string:

  • He’s still tied to his mother’s apron strings – he can’t make a decision without her input.
  • She was so overprotective of her son that he never learned to be independent and was always tied to her apron strings.
  • It’s time for you to cut the apron strings and start living your own life.
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