by the short hairs

by the short hairs

Under one's complete control. This expression is often used with get or have, as in She had her husband by the short hairs. It is in effect a euphemism for have someone by the balls, the hairs in question being pubic hair. [Colloquial; second half of 1800s]
See also: hair, short
References in periodicals archive ?
Also irritating are the frequent references to modern critics (Jakobson, Foucault, Barthes, Kritzman, Derrida, Bloom), who often seem to be dragged in by the short hairs to support a claim that needs no supporting.
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