To wear the breeches. Said of a woman who usurps the prerogative of her husband. Similar to The grey mare is the better horse. (See Grey. )
The phrase is common to the French, Dutch, Germans, etc., as Elle porte les braies. Die vrouw die hosen anhaben. Sie hat die Hösen.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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