reining in

Moon Palace

Senior Member
Hello everyone :),

I am puzzled by the use of this phrasal verb: can it be used as intransitive to mean an activity is brought to a stall?

The development of such devices is reining in.

I feel displeased with this wording, but I would like to know if I am being too fussy or if I am right.

Thanks in advance for your help.
  • The Curate's Egg

    England, English
    Yes, it means to lessen something, for example, she reined in her spending (stopped spending so much money). I feel that just saying 'decreasing' would be better.


    Senior Member
    It is an action performed by someone, as The Curate's Egg's example indicates, so "X is reining in" doesn't work in your context. It could be done in a passive voice - "The development of such devices is being reined in (by someone or something)".

    As far as I know, to "rein in" is a figurative image of someone pulling on the reins of a horse to slow the horse and hold it back from running freely. The reins don't operate themselves. :)

    Moon Palace

    Senior Member
    Thank you both. Indeed, I wanted confirmation that a passive voice was needed as I know of the transitive use of this verb, but was annoyed by this intransitive use, without yet being able to find this clearly confirmed in dictionaries.
    And you're right, JamesM, I should have thought of horses first. ;)
    < Previous | Next >