velvet

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(as) soft as velvet

Exceptionally soft and smooth. I love how your face feels after you shave—it's as soft as velvet! This is my favorite blanket to get snuggled up in at night. It's soft as velvet, and it keeps me nice and warm in bed.
See also: soft, velvet

an iron fist in a velvet glove

A person who has a gentle, sweet, or unassuming appearance or disposition, but who in reality is particularly severe, forceful, and uncompromising. Tom is in for it now with his wife. She might seem like a nice lady to us, but she's an iron fist in a velvet glove. The new leader of the country rose to power with promises of democracy and equality, but as his despotic intentions came to light he soon proved to be an iron fist in a velvet glove.
See also: fist, glove, iron, velvet

an iron hand in a velvet glove

A person who has a gentle, sweet, or unassuming appearance or disposition, but who in reality is particularly severe, forceful, or uncompromising. Tom is in for it now with his wife. She might seem like a nice lady to us, but she's an iron hand in a velvet glove when they're at home. The new leader of the country rose to power by promises of democracy and equality to its citizens, but, as his despotic intentions came to light, he soon proved an iron hand in a velvet glove.
See also: glove, hand, iron, velvet

iron hand

A manner that is severe, forceful, or uncompromising. Grandma runs the house with an iron hand—if you break a rule, you're grounded for weeks.
See also: hand, iron

rule with a velvet glove

To rule, govern, or control a group or population in a very permissive, lenient, or flexible manner. A noun or pronoun can be used between "rule" and "with." The principal has been ruling the school with a velvet glove, trusting students to behave and follow the rules of their own accord. Not surprisingly, the place is in near-constant chaos. You can't rule with a velvet glove and expect every employees to put in their full efforts day in, day out.
See also: glove, rule, velvet

the little gentleman in the velvet coat

obsolete, literary A humorous name for the mole. The ground was dotted with tiny hills. "What is it that made these?" I asked my uncle. "Why, the little gentleman in the velvet coat," he replied, suppressing a smile.

velvet handcuffs

A situation that is undesirable, unenjoyable, or unfulfilling but that provides enough financial security as to make one unwilling or unable to leave. After nearly three years at my mind-numbing job, held back by the velvet handcuffs of my salary and benefits, I decided to break away from it all and go live in Japan.
See also: handcuff, velvet

rule with a velvet glove

Fig. to rule in a very gentle way. She rules with a velvet glove, but she gets things done, nonetheless. He may appear to rule with a velvet glove, but he is really quite cruel.
See also: glove, rule, velvet

*soft as a baby's bottom

 and soft as a baby's backside; *soft as down; *soft as silk; *soft as velvet
Cliché very soft and smooth to the touch. (*Also: as ~.) This cloth is as soft as a baby's bottom. The kitten's fur was as soft as down. Your touch is soft as silk. This lotion will make your skin soft as velvet.
See also: bottom, soft

iron hand

Rigorous control, as in He ruled the company with an iron hand. This usage is sometimes put as iron hand in a velvet glove, meaning "firm but seemingly gentle control," as in She runs the town with an iron hand in a velvet glove. [c. 1700]
See also: hand, iron

velvet

see under iron hand.

an iron fist in the velvet glove

If you describe someone or something as an iron fist in the velvet glove you mean that they look gentle but in fact they use a lot of force. There is an iron fist in the velvet glove of the charming Irishman as he plots to make Leeds the top team of the new millennium.
See also: fist, glove, iron, velvet

the little gentleman in the velvet coat

the mole. humorous
This expression was a toast used by the Jacobites, supporters of the deposed James II and his descendants in their claim to the British throne. It referred to the belief that the death of King William III resulted from complications following a fall from his horse when it stumbled over a molehill. The phrase is found in various other forms, including the wee gentleman in black velvet .

an iron hand (or fist) in a velvet glove

firmness or ruthlessness masked by outward gentleness.
See also: glove, hand, iron, velvet

iron hand (in a velvet glove), to rule with an

To rule with absolute firmness (concealed by a mild manner). Ruling with iron was an idea expressed in the Bible, in the Book of Revelation: “And he shall rule them with a rod of iron” (2:27). Iron hand in a velvet glove comes from Thomas Carlyle’s Latter-Day Pamphlets (1850) and is there ascribed to Napoleon Bonaparte: “‘Iron hand in a velvet glove,’ as Napoleon defined it.” However, the phrase has been attributed to other rulers, too, among them Charles V. Today it is more often used for lesser authorities, such as a strict parent, but may be dying out.
See also: hand, iron, rule, velvet
References in classic literature ?
Tupman in full brigand's costume, with a very tight jacket, sitting like a pincushion over his back and shoulders, the upper portion of his legs incased in the velvet shorts, and the lower part thereof swathed in the complicated bandages to which all brigands are peculiarly attached.
Snodgrass--to the authoress of "The Expiring Frog."' Very few people but those who have tried it, know what a difficult process it is to bow in green velvet smalls, and a tight jacket, and high-crowned hat; or in blue satin trunks and white silks, or knee-cords and top-boots that were never made for the wearer, and have been fixed upon him without the remotest reference to the comparative dimensions of himself and the suit.
At that moment, with soft steps, the countess came in shyly, in her cap and velvet gown.
"That trend for 'hometainment' is something we're constantly designing for," Lauren continues, "with our new collections delivering an eclectic mix of styles from luxuriously sized corner units from which to gather friends and family, to beautiful jeweltoned velvets used across accent chairs, sofas and sofa beds."
The most common trend in velvets is the delightful piece of apparel in trouser shirt, said Sania Ashfaq.
The new high density velvets developed in multiple colours are also an eye-catching item, which is very well appreciated by the Indian public.
Now, almost 40 years later, Cale has again joined with his former bandmate Reed to launch a law suit against the estate of avant garde artist and pop impresario Andy Warhol who took "the Velvets" under his wing in his famous New York Factory studio.
ROMANTIC in flavour and bohemian in styling, the Repertoire fabric collection from Blendworth (right) is an eclectic mix of beautiful silks, satins and velvets. While the designs suggest vintage 'flea market' chic, the colour palettes capture the essence of today's sophisticated interior trends.
KATE Mansey's music feature on the Black Velvets (ECHO, September 9) took me back 35 years or so.
So, curl up on your sofa with layers of different velvets. The quality and comfort of this fabric can make you feel warm and secure in a way that conventional heat can't.
The construction of both chenilles and velvets is key to their durability.
Keeping alive a forbidden language of disorder inspired by smuggled-in Western music (the Velvets, Captain Beefheart, Frank Zappa, the Doors), hounded by the authorities (denied instruments and venues, their clandestine concerts raided by the police, their members eventually imprisoned for "disturbing the peace"), they were a resistance movement unto themselves.
HIGH POINT, N.C.-Milliken Fabrics treated shoppers at last week's International Home Furnishings Market to all the accoutrements of a spa in celebration of its new line of soft, textured knit velvets.
Cut and carved fabrics, particularly velvets, are taking the sophisticated casual trend to the next level.
NEW YORK--De Poortere Fabrics, the number-one manufacturer of velvets in Belgium, has been calving out a niche in the American upholstery market for the last four months after a resurgence of interest in the fabric here.