at the helm/tiller

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at the helm

In charge; acting as the leader of something. The phrase originated as a nautical term, meaning "in the position to steer a ship." Jack is at the helm, so I know they'll get this project done on time! Nancy has been at the helm of our department for so long that I can't imagine what it will be like once she retires!
See also: helm
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

at the helm (of something)

Fig. in the position of being in control of something. The president is at the helm of the company. Things will go well with Anne at the helm.
See also: helm
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

at the helm

In charge, in command, as in With Charles at the helm, the company is bound to prosper. This phrase transfers the idea of steering a ship to directing other enterprises. [Early 1500s] Also see the synonym at the wheel.
See also: helm
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.

at the ˈhelm/ˈtiller

in control of an organization, etc: The company began to make profits again with the new managing director at the helm.
A helm or a tiller is used for controlling the direction of a ship or a boat.
See also: helm, tiller
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
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References in classic literature ?
The man at the wheel never vexed the old lady with any superfluous steering, but comfortably adjusting his limbs at the tiller, would doze away by the hour.
'Per tiller' estimates were used because transitions between stages are controlled at the tiller level (i.e., apical dominance).
In tufted grasses, the N nutrition affects the expression of basic morphogenetic variables at the tiller level in a number of ways, increasing the LER and tillering rate and having a slight effect on the LAR; the effect of N nutrition on leaf tissue production on strictly stoloniferous species appears to be very dependent on the response of stolon internode elongation (CRUZ & BOVAL, 2000).
Light conditions at the tiller base change significantly during the regrowth of a sward, including transmission of photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) and light quality (e.g., red/far-red [R/FR] ratio or blue light) (Gautier et al., 1999).
2b) most probably increased the R/FR ratio at the tiller bases, which in turn may have increased the activation of tiller buds (Casal et al., 1987; Davis and Simmons, 1994; Gautier et al., 1999).
Self-shading within a dense canopy at the tiller base is associated with an increase of leaf length and a decrease of tillering (Kays and Harper, 1974).
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