an iron fist in a velvet glove


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an iron fist in a velvet glove

A person who has a gentle, sweet, or unassuming appearance or disposition, but who in reality is particularly severe, forceful, and uncompromising. Tom is in for it now with his wife. She might seem like a nice lady to us, but she's an iron fist in a velvet glove. The new leader of the country rose to power by promises of democracy and equality to its citizens, but as his despotic intentions came to light he soon proved to be an iron fist in a velvet glove.
See also: fist, glove, iron, velvet

an iron fist in the velvet glove

If you describe someone or something as an iron fist in the velvet glove you mean that they look gentle but in fact they use a lot of force. There is an iron fist in the velvet glove of the charming Irishman as he plots to make Leeds the top team of the new millennium.
See also: fist, glove, iron, velvet
References in periodicals archive ?
The Swede rarely relishes confrontation with his players - but he's not afraid to apply an iron fist in a velvet glove if necessary.
His diplomatic efforts to coach with an iron fist in a velvet glove then suffered a further jolt in an interview with BBC Radio Five Live.