bring to heel

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bring (someone) to heel

To force someone to obey one's wishes or commands; to make someone act in accordance with one's authority. The CEO was quick to bring the junior board member to heel after the latter spoke out of turn at the annual general meeting. Sir, the members of your squad are all out of control. You need to bring them to heel right away!
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Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

bring someone to heel

Fig. to cause someone to act in a disciplined fashion; to force someone to act in a more disciplined manner. She tried to bring her husband to heel, but he had a mind of his own. He was brought to heel by his demanding wife.
See also: bring, heel, to
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

bring to heel

Force to obey, subjugate. For example, The prisoners were quickly brought to heel. This term transfers commanding a dog to come close behind its master to similar control over human beings or affairs. [Second half of 1800s]
See also: bring, heel, to
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.
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References in periodicals archive ?
Anyone who believes you can defend civil liberties against an abusive New Labour government by changing Home Office ministers misses the point: you have to change the whole authoritarian culture of the Home Office by reforming Parliament so that it can bring to heel such over-mighty government departments.