an iron fist/hand

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Related to iron fist: rule with an iron fist

iron hand

Rigorous control, as in He ruled the company with an iron hand. This usage is sometimes put as iron hand in a velvet glove, meaning "firm but seemingly gentle control," as in She runs the town with an iron hand in a velvet glove. [c. 1700]
See also: hand, iron

an iron fist

or

an iron hand

COMMON If you do something with an iron fist or an iron hand, you do it with great force and strength. The Generals have ruled the nation with an iron fist for more than half of its independent existence. Peace was enforced with an iron hand in the conquered territories. Note: You can also talk about the iron fist of or the the iron hand of something. The symbol of their rule was not so much the iron fist of repression as the empty shelves of a failing economy.
See also: fist, iron

an iron ˈfist/ˈhand (in a velvet ˈglove)

harsh treatment of somebody that is hidden behind a gentle manner: The president ruled his country by using an iron fist in a velvet glove.
See also: fist, hand, iron
References in periodicals archive ?
But, establishing the start of his less-than-smooth partnership with Iron Fist, a nod to the comics, is nicely done, at least.
While the general enemy they're facing is still the Hand, a carry-over from both Daredevil and Iron Fist , the face of the Hand has now changed.
Like his shady dad, Johnny runs a dope-dealing concern with what he considers an iron fist.
The security forces will strike with an iron fist and would relentlessly deal with every terrorist who harms Yemen, its economy or interests", the state-run 26 September weekly quoted an unidentified official as saying.
The short-lived executive order helped to curtail racially patterned enforcement practices and soften the iron fist of federal policy.
If governments use an iron fist on innocent people then they create more terrorists.
Cadillac's XLR roadster is an iron fist in a velvet glove.
Should you rule with an iron fist, be sure to wear a velvet glove.
Domineering father Harold (Geoffrey Rush) rules his wife Dora (Judy Davis) and five children with an iron fist in 50s Brisbane, pushing his four sons to take up sports as a means to instil toughness in them.
Pope John Paul ruled the Church with an iron fist and would not tolerate dissent or disobedience.
An aspiring writer, Violet desires to become independent of her mother's iron fist and the responsibilities of running the family business, but a family tragedy forces her to reconsider the desires of her heart.
Luther rules the roost with an iron fist, systematically finding fault with every suggestion to improve the long-term prospects for the company.
While Bashir held Saddam in contempt, he also believed (as many do in Iraq and elsewhere) that only the iron fist of a dictator could contain the ancient ethnic and religious hatreds within Iraq's borders.
Word of the iconic chairman's arrest in early December sent shares in Takefuji, the hugely profitable company that 73-year old Takei founded in 1968 and rules with an iron fist, plunging by its daily limit.
Gorbachev, Putin, and company are all smiles and charm now, but at some point they will drop their pretenses and show their iron fist inside the velvet glove.