tighten the screws on

tighten the screws on somebody/something

also put the screws on somebody/something
to make it harder for someone to do something Government agencies need to tighten the screws on illegal immigrants. We are putting the screws on that country to end its history of helping terrorists.
Usage notes: sometimes used in the form put the screws to someone or something: The owners could really put the screws to the players.
See also: on, screw, tighten
References in periodicals archive ?
Tighten the screws on the left side and then the right side.