have (someone) under (one's) thumb(redirected from have them under their thumbs)
have (someone) under (one's) thumb
To maintain authoritarian control over someone; to continually force someone to submit to one's will. They seem happy when they're out and about, but I hear that Johnny has his husband completely under his thumb when they're at home. Although the job was well paying, I couldn't stand the way the boss had me under his thumb.