iron hand

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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.
See also: hand, iron

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 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 ?
He certainly remained convinced that his ironhanded response was singularly appropriate.
It requires a move away from the ideology of control, from the mistaken notion that ironhanded accountability will ensure the outcomes we identify as desirable.