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hand over fist

Fig. [for money and merchandise to be exchanged] very rapidly. What a busy day. We took in money hand over fist. They were buying things hand over fist.
See also: fist, hand

rule with an iron fist

Fig. to rule in a very stern manner. The dictator ruled with an iron fist and terrified the citizens. My boss rules with an iron fist. I'm looking for a new job.
See also: fist, iron, rule

*tight as a drum

1. stretched tight. (*Also: as ~.) Julia stretched the upholstery fabric over the seat of the chair until it was as tight as a drum. The skin on his scalp is tight as a drum.
2. sealed tight. (*Also: as ~.) Now that I've caulked all the windows, the house should be tight as a drum. Your butterfly died because the jar is as tight as a drum.
3. and *tight as Midas's fist very stingy. (*Also: as ~.) He won't contribute a cent. He's as tight as a drum. Old Mr. Robinson is tight as Midas's fist. Won't spend money on anything.
See also: drum, tight


Fig. [of a male] aggressive and feisty. Perry is a real, two-fisted cowboy, always ready for a fight or a drunken brawl.

hand over fist

quickly and continuously A few years ago, those people made money hand over fist. Developers are putting up cheap new houses hand over fist in our town.
See also: fist, hand

make a good fist of something/doing something

  (British & Australian old-fashioned)
to do something well He made a good fist of explaining why we need to improve our public transport system. He built the house himself and made a surprisingly good fist of it. (British & Australian old-fashioned)
See also: fist, good, make, of


  (British) also ham-handed (American)
1. lacking skill with the hands I hoped you weren't watching my ham-fisted attempts to get the cake out of the tin.
2. lacking skill in the way that you deal with people The report criticizes the ham-fisted way in which complaints are dealt with.

hand over fist

if you make or lose money hand over fist, you make or lose large amounts of it very quickly Business was good and we were making money hand over fist.
See also: fist, hand

an iron fist/hand in a velvet glove

something that you say when you are describing someone who seems to be gentle but is in fact severe and firm To enforce each new law the president uses persuasion first, and then force - the iron hand in the velvet glove.
See also: fist, glove, iron, velvet

rule (somebody) with a rod of iron

  (British, American & Australian) also rule (somebody) with an iron fist/hand (American & Australian)
to control a group of people very firmly, having complete power over everything that they do For 17 years she ruled the country with a rod of iron. My uncle rules the family business with an iron hand.
See also: iron, of, rod, rule

hand over fist

Rapidly, at a tremendous rate, as in He's making money hand over fist. This expression is derived from the nautical hand over hand, describing how a sailor climbed a rope. [First half of 1800s]
See also: fist, hand

tight as a drum

Taut or close-fitting; also, watertight. For example, That baby's eaten so much that the skin on his belly is tight as a drum, or You needn't worry about leaks; this tent is tight as a drum. Originally this expression alluded to the skin of a drumhead, which is tightly stretched, and in the mid-1800s was transferred to other kinds of tautness. Later, however, it sometimes referred to a drum-shaped container, such as an oil drum, which had to be well sealed to prevent leaks, and the expression then signified "watertight."
See also: drum, tight

hand over fist

mod. repeatedly and energetically, especially as with taking in money in a great volume. We were taking in fees hand over fist, and the people were lined up for blocks.
See also: fist, hand

two-fisted drinker

n. a heavy drinker; someone who drinks with both hands. The world is filled with guys who aspire to be two-fisted drinkers.

hand over fist

At a tremendous rate: made money hand over fist.
See also: fist, hand

hand over fist

Continuously. A sailor hauls in lines (“ropes” to you, landlubbers) not by jerky interrupted pulls, but in a smooth hand-over-hand motion. That's the image applied to people who make money hand over fist, which is how the phrase is most always used.
See also: fist, hand
References in periodicals archive ?
Two Fisted Tango is based in Denver, Colorado, but they would rather be somewhere else.
8220;I'm always excited when Two Fisted Tango plays live.
The Two Fisted Tango EP is available now on iTunes and Spotify.