get (someone) by the short and curlies

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get (someone) by the short and curlies

To have complete control or dominance over someone; to have someone at one's mercy. "The short and curlies" refers to the hairs on one's neck, despite popular misconceptions. With all that evidence against you, I'd say the police have got you by the short and curlies. Sometimes, I think Mark's wife has got him by the short and curlies.
See also: and, by, curly, get, short

get (or have) someone by the short and curlies (or short hairs)

have complete control of a person. informal
See also: and, by, curly, get, short, someone