firm hand

a firm hand

Strong, unwavering discipline and control. Children need a firm hand growing up—they crave structure and rules, despite their protests to the contrary. With the company's president making a series of brilliant decisions, it seems they finally have a firm hand at the helm. In our search for a new CEO, we knew we needed a firm hand who could steer the company back into profitability in less than a year.
See also: firm, hand
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

*firm hand

Fig. [someone's] strong sense of management; a high degree of discipline and direction. (*Typically: exercise ~; have ~; need ~; take ~; use~.) I had to use a firm hand with Perry when he was a child. He had a problem with discipline.
See also: firm, hand
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
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References in classic literature ?
"Well, sir, it is young; but he is as steady as a man, and is strong, and well grown, and though he has not had much experience in driving, he has a light firm hand and a quick eye, and he is very careful, and I am quite sure no horse of his will be ruined for want of having his feet and shoes looked after."
The guests had been selected with a boldness and discrimination in which the initiated recognised the firm hand of Catherine the Great.
Natasha sat easily and confidently on her black Arabchik and reined him in without effort with a firm hand.
Hers was a strong, quiet soul, and it was her firm hand which had taken over the duties of her mother, had ordered the house, restrained the servants, comforted her father, and upheld her weaker sister, from the day of that great misfortune.
"True," said Noirtier, looking carelessly around him, "true, if this person were not on his guard, as he is;" and he added with a smile, "He will consequently make a few changes in his personal appearance." At these words he rose, and put off his frock-coat and cravat, went towards a table on which lay his son's toilet articles, lathered his face, took a razor, and, with a firm hand, cut off the compromising whiskers.
Look, this is what I think;" and she seized the pen boldly and traced, with a firm hand, the following words: --
The days are gone by when it was considered manly to go to bed intoxicated every night, and a clear head and a firm hand no longer draw down upon their owner the reproach of effeminacy.
And she would do it, thinks the lawver, watchful of the firm hand with which she takes the pen!
Cornelius took it, and on the second fly leaf (for it will be remembered that the first was torn out), drawing near his end like his godfather, he wrote with a no less firm hand: --
His firm hand held me as gently as ever in my place.
With a firm hand Mercy put the chair back to a distance from her.
When such a costly thing as a lady breaks down at the first touch of a firm hand, I feel justified in complaining."
When I regained consciousness it was to feel a cool, firm hand pressed upon my forehead.
"How beautiful it sounds, and how happy you must be, so strong and pretty, and able to go round making music all the time," sighed Jenny, looking with respectful admiration at the plump, firm hand held in both her thin and feeble ones.
The Count's firm hand slowly tightened its grasp on his shoulder, and the Count's steady voice quietly repeated, "Be good enough, if you please, to remember it too."