the dead hand of (something)

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the dead hand of (something)

The factor or influence of something that prohibits progress. Our children's education is being stymied by the dead hand of standardized testing.
See also: dead, hand, of
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

the dead hand

If you talk about the dead hand of someone or something, you mean that they have a very negative influence on a situation, for example by preventing change or progress. The dead hand of bureaucracy now lies heavily on the Space Quest Foundation. One crucial change is that the dead hand of the state looks like being removed from France Télécom.
See also: dead, hand
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

the dead hand of something

an influence that controls or restricts something: We need to free business from the dead hand of bureaucracy.
See also: dead, hand, of, something
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
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References in classic literature ?
"She came, O King, because the dead hand of Baleka summoned her, as thou sawest.
The danger is that a handful of Tory Remainers will maintain a narrow paranoid view and scupper the efforts of our new Prime Minister as they did the last one, leaving us forever under the dead hand of Brussels.
"It is an unacceptable consequence of the devolution of powers to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland that much of England itself remains constrained by Whitehall's dead hand of centralism" - Tory grandee Lord Heseltine.
For her to contradict Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt when he admitted the law is not right is the dead hand of Downing Street creating unnecessary mayhem.
The dead hand of government conservation bodies now poses the biggest threat to coastal communities in the 21st century.
It seems that Scrooge's calling card was found in the cold, dead hand of Fezziwig's body, and someone scribbled "Humbug" in blood on the floor nearby.
Comedian Amy Schumer wrote and stars in Trainwreck but her charm can't overcome her own limited script or the dead hand of director Judd Apatow.
This was the effect of the dead hand of nationalisation on our railway system and it is only a matter of luck that the lines surrounding Harbury survived to become the success they are today.
The country needs a complete break from the dead hand of the two party system that stifles change, snuffing good will to all.
He said: "We are often called the dead hand of bureaucracy and told we should keep out of the way.
Consider how much easier it would be to introduce new types of health worker without the dead hand of regulation clutching for evidence of their safety to practise.
"I want to bring such talents together to create a strong team ready to replace the dead hand of Labour in 2016.
The fingerprints of the dead hand of Prince Charles were all over the day's programme of events.
In many areas of administration, Bulgaria has languished too long under the dead hand of incompetence and complacency.