Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Encyclopedia.
Related to force hand: A Force to Be Reckoned With
force (one's) hand
To push one to do something that one is not inclined to do otherwise. (The phrase alludes to a hand of playing cards.) Dave still hasn't decided where he wants to go to dinner, so I'm going to force his hand—I need to make reservations as soon as possible! I was hoping to play golf today, but the storm forced my hand, so I stayed home instead. The president is trying to force Congress's hand by threatening a veto.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
force someone's hand
to force a person to reveal plans, strategies, or secrets. (Alludes to a handful of cards in card playing.) We didn't know what she was doing until Tom forced her hand. We changed our game plan after we forced the other team's hand in the first period.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
force (someone's) hand
To force to act or speak prematurely or unwillingly.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.