long arm of the law, the

long arm of the law, the

The far-reaching power of the authorities. For example, You'll never get away with leaving work early; the long arm of the law is bound to catch you . This expression began as Kings have long arms (or hands) and was listed as a proverb in 1539. The current version, now often used lightly, was first recorded in 1908.
See also: arm, long, of