I found an interesting phrase, “purse-lipped mother-in-law” in the following lines of the article titled “The newspaper that rules Britain,” which appeared in New Yorker magazine, April 2nd, 2012 issue.
The article deals with the way the Daily Mail treated the news of the defrocking from knighthood of former chief executive of the Royal Bank of Scotland, Fred Goodwin:
In the Mail’s cosmology, men are giants or pygmies, strong or weak. (Women are assessed by other metrics.) Such is the Mail’s censoriousness that British Esquire recently deemed it the nation’s “purse-lipped mother-in-law.” After the affair, Goodwin obtained from the High Court a gag order that forbade the British media from reporting it.
The phrase purse-lipped mother-in-law reminds me of a Japanese idiom, kojuto-no-yomeibiri – a universal habit of a mother-in-law fond of bullying her daughter-in-law (who married her son).
Does purse-lipped mother-in-law mean the same – a censorious woman who always chews out her daughter-in-law (or anyone around her)? Can I say "purse-lipped wife"? Is it a popular English phrase?