have (someone or something) by the ears

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have (someone or something) by the ears

To have a strong grip on someone or something. The flu had me by the ears last week, but I'm finally feeling better now.
See also: ear, have

have something by the ears

keep or obtain a secure hold on.
1949 Dylan Thomas Letter I am tangled in hack-work. Depression has me by the ears.
See also: ear, have, something