an iron fist in a velvet glove

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an iron fist in a velvet glove

A person who has a gentle, sweet, or unassuming appearance or disposition, but who in reality is particularly severe, forceful, and uncompromising. Tom is in for it now with his wife. She might seem like a nice lady to us, but she's an iron fist in a velvet glove. The new leader of the country rose to power with promises of democracy and equality, but as his despotic intentions came to light he soon proved to be an iron fist in a velvet glove.
See also: fist, glove, iron, velvet

an iron fist in the velvet glove

If you describe someone or something as an iron fist in the velvet glove you mean that they look gentle but in fact they use a lot of force. There is an iron fist in the velvet glove of the charming Irishman as he plots to make Leeds the top team of the new millennium.
See also: fist, glove, iron, velvet
References in periodicals archive ?
Imperial Japan found itself in similar circumstances when its head of the government fell sick and died, who had conserved the country into a united nation for a long duration and balanced power with an iron fist in a velvet glove. He left an adolescent son, too young to govern and unable to prevent political manoeuvring.
His party, Zanu-PF had turned against him, unanimously calling for his expulsion under threat of impeachment; the veterans he had fought with generations ago wanted him out; his supporters had vanished in the night and the army, which he had called his iron fist in a velvet glove, had been the first to strike the blow.
The Global Times said in an article, "If "soft power" is conceptualized as the power of attraction, in stark contrast to coercion and payment as a definitional fiat of "hard power," the title of this program is confusing, and even misleading given that it makes us believe that China's soft power is, by and large, an iron fist in a velvet glove. "
Mated to an eight-speed automatic gearbox and quattro four-wheeldrive, it's very much an iron fist in a velvet glove - acceleration though intense and sledgehammer-like is controllable and creamy smooth, accompanied by a cultured symphony of sound.
Mated to an eight-speed automatic gearbox and quattro fourwheel-drive, it's very much an iron fist in a velvet glove - acceleration though intense and sledgehammerlike is controllable and creamy smooth, accompanied by a cultured symphony of sound.
Controlled with an iron fist in a velvet glove, Willie Piper harnessed the finest racing brains in Ayrshire for a night to remember.
HIS introduction was polite and measured, but make no mistake, new Wrexham boss Brian Little is an iron fist in a velvet glove.
Cadillac's XLR roadster is an iron fist in a velvet glove. Get in, and the car practically reaches out to embrace you.
The Swede rarely relishes confrontation with his players - but he's not afraid to apply an iron fist in a velvet glove if necessary.
Pierre van Hooijdonk, Holland's player of the year, would have to bow to the iron fist in a velvet glove of Steve Bruce, the Birmingham City manager, on his return to the Premiership, writes Fraser Thomson.