fist

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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

fist bump

1. noun The act of touching the knuckle side of one's clenched fist with someone else's, either as a greeting or in a cheerful or celebratory manner. Also known as a "pound." He was so excited by the team's overtime win that he gave everyone fist bumps as we left the stadium.
2. verb To touch one's clenched fist with someone else's in such a manner. He was so excited by the team's overtime win that he was fist bumping everyone as we left the stadium.
See also: bump, fist

ham-fisted

1. To be uncoordinated or clumsy with one's hands. My mother does beautiful calligraphy, but I'm so ham-fisted that I can barely hold the pen! No, I'm too ham-fisted to repair that delicate figurine.
2. Inept in one's personal interactions. Tommy is so ham-fisted that he'll never be able to mediate this situation.

make a good fist of (something)

To do a very good job of something. Primarily heard in UK, Australia. Wow, you and the lads made a good fist of painting the house! Everyone seems to agree that the government made a good fist of bringing high-speed internet to the countryside.
See also: fist, good, make, of

hand over fist

At a very fast pace. This doll is so popular that the manufacturer is making money hand over fist.
See also: fist, hand, over

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, over

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

two-fisted

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

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, over

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

If you are making or losing money hand over fist, you are making or losing a lot of money very quickly. AAC's speciality channels were making money hand over fist. The companies had no skills and almost all were losing money hand over fist. Note: This expression comes from the image of a sailor moving his hands steadily one over the other while pulling in a rope or raising a sail.
See also: fist, hand, over

an iron fist

or

an iron hand

COMMON If you do something with an iron fist or an iron hand, you do it with great force and strength. The Generals have ruled the nation with an iron fist for more than half of its independent existence. Peace was enforced with an iron hand in the conquered territories. Note: You can also talk about the iron fist of or the the iron hand of something. The symbol of their rule was not so much the iron fist of repression as the empty shelves of a failing economy.
See also: fist, iron

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

make a — fist of

do something to a specified degree of success. informal
1998 Times An opening stand of 99 by Hancock and Hewson helped Gloucestershire to make a decent fist of it yesterday.
See also: fist, make, of

make (or lose or spend) money hand over fist

make (or lose or spend) money very rapidly or in very large quantities. informal
This phrase first appeared in the mid 18th century as hand over hand . Found in nautical contexts, it referred to the movement of a person's hands when rapidly climbing a rope or hauling it in. By the mid 19th century, hand over hand was being used to mean ‘advancing continuously and rapidly’, especially of one ship pursuing another. Hand over fist is first recorded in the early 19th century, also in a nautical context, but it was soon used more generally to indicate speed, especially in the handling of money.
1991 Simon Winchester Pacific Japan continued making money hand over fist, the American trade deficit became steadily larger and larger.
See also: fist, hand, make, money, over

make a better, good, poor, etc. ˈfist of something

(British English, informal) make a good, bad, etc. attempt to do something: The Irish rugby team are hoping to make a better fist of it than the English did yesterday.
See also: fist, make, of, something

an iron ˈfist/ˈhand (in a velvet ˈglove)

harsh treatment of somebody that is hidden behind a gentle manner: The president ruled his country by using an iron fist in a velvet glove.
See also: fist, hand, iron

make/lose money ˌhand over ˈfist

(informal) make/lose money very fast and in large quantities: Some of these tennis players are making money hand over fist.
See also: fist, hand, lose, make, money, over

shake your ˈfist (at somebody)

hold up your fist (= your closed hand) at somebody because you are angry or because you want to threaten them: He got out of the car, shaking his fist in anger at the driver in the car behind.
See also: fist, shake

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, over

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, over

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, over
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