force (one's) hand(redirected from forces their hands)
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.
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.
force (someone's) hand
To force to act or speak prematurely or unwillingly.