get (one) by the short and curlies

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get (one) by the short and curlies

To have complete control or dominance over one. "The short and curlies" refers to the hairs on one's neck (not pubic hairs, 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
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
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References in periodicals archive ?
Phrases keep popping into my mind such as 'it's like pulling teeth', 'taking the bread out of your mouth', 'got you by the short and curlies' - you get the picture.