velvet

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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

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

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 by promises of democracy and equality to its citizens, 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

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.

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
References in periodicals archive ?
VAN DE WIELE will show all the new trends into carpet and velvet weaving, as the great handlook quality in reed density up to 1200 dents/meter and 8 colours.
WHEN it COMES to cake, red velvet is so on-trend that Parsippany, N.
The silk stripe Carnival has a beautiful mix of textures The wallpapers shown are from the Anthology collection, and the upholstery velvets from Repertoire Velvets.
We tend to shy away from the neutrals and simplicity of summer and covet the need for luxury and this year sees the triumphant return of voluptuous velvet.
In the velvet arena, Milliken has two proprietary pieces of equipment that allow it to either "sculpt" or " engrave" velvets for a multidimensional effect.
Only this isn't the Velvet Underground finally paying a call on a stadium-full of adoring fans somewhere in Europa, but a much more obscure and mysterious outfit that sprang from such fandom itself in the waning days of 1968: the Plastic People of the Universe.
The facilities at Monroe produce woven jacquards, and the plant at Jamestown manufactures woven and tufted velvets.
The main applications of velvet are upholstery, apparel and automotive.
Sculpted, pleated, ribbed and striped velvets are appearing in all product categories this season, including upholstered furniture, decorative pillows and fashion bedding.
He doesn't want to sit around talking about (model-chanteuse) Nico and the Velvets and (Velvets benefactor Andy) Warhol.
New York - Home textiles suppliers will go to extremes at next week's market here, displaying new products with casual warmth and worn fabrics as well as formal velvets and chenilles.
Tom Muzekari, vice president of marketing for Collins & Aikman Velvets, a division of Collins & Aikman, the $1.
Worn elegance: Traditional furniture in mellow woods is taking on a patina of easy elegance with washed, textural fabic coverings such as damasks and velvets.
But given that there was a Velvets box set last year that included the entire ``Loaded'' album plus outtakes, you wonder if this was warranted.
Sequins, metallics, iridescent satins, jewel-tone velvets, feathers and even fur are all making a dazzling comeback for the holiday season.