put the arm on

put the arm on someone

Fig. to apply pressure to someone. John's been putting the arm on Mary to get her to go out with him. John has been putting the arm on Bill to get him to cooperate.
See also: arm, on, put

put the arm on somebody

  (American informal)
to try to force someone to do something If he won't pay up, we'll get Rick to put the arm on him.
See chance arm, cost an arm and a leg, twist arm, could do with one arm tied behind back
See also: arm, on, put

put the arm on

Also, put the bite or touch on . Ask for or demand money, as in He's the youngest and he's always putting the arm on Dad. The first of these slangy usages, first recorded in 1939, alludes to a robber assaulting someone by yoking his arm around the victim's throat. The bite variant, first recorded in 1919, similarly alludes to a violent attack. The last, touch, has been slang for "theft" since the mid-1800s.
See also: arm, on, put