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. The teacher has an iron hand. If you break any rule at all, you get detention for a week! The dictator has ruled the country with an iron hand since his military coup in 1987.
2. proverb 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. He's an iron hand, that's why he moves swiftly to gain control over any entity that is not already in his grasp.
See also: an, hand, iron
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

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: an, fist, hand, iron
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
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