an iron fist/hand
an iron fist
1. A particularly severe, forceful, and uncompromising manner of ruling, governing, etc. Tom is in for it now with his wife. She might seem like a nice lady to us, but she runs her house with an iron fist.
2. Someone who rules in such a way. The new leader of the country rose to power with promises of democracy and equality, but he soon proved to be an iron fist as his despotic intentions came to light.
an iron hand
1. A particularly severe, forceful, and uncompromising manner of doing something. Tom is in for it now with his wife. She might seem like a nice lady to us, but she runs her house with an iron hand.
2. A person who does things in such a manner. The new leader of the country rose to power with promises of democracy and equality, but he soon proved to be an iron hand as his despotic intentions came to light.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
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]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
an iron fistor
an iron hand
COMMON If you do something with an iron fist or an iron hand, you do it with great force and strength. The Generals have ruled the nation with an iron fist for more than half of its independent existence. Peace was enforced with an iron hand in the conquered territories. Note: You can also talk about the iron fist of or the the iron hand of something. The symbol of their rule was not so much the iron fist of repression as the empty shelves of a failing economy.
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012
an iron ˈfist/ˈhand (in a velvet ˈglove)harsh treatment of somebody that is hidden behind a gentle manner: The president ruled his country by using an iron fist in a velvet glove.
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017