iron hand(redirected from iron hand in a velvet glove)
an iron hand
1. A particularly severe, forceful, and uncompromising manner of doing something. Tom is in for it now with his wife. She might seem like a nice lady to us, but she runs her house with an iron hand.
2. A person who does things in such a manner. The new leader of the country rose to power with promises of democracy and equality, but he soon proved to be an iron hand as his despotic intentions came to light.
A manner that is severe, forceful, or uncompromising. Grandma runs the house with an iron hand—if you break a rule, you're grounded for weeks.
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]