keep (someone) under (one's) thumb

(redirected from keep them under your thumb)

keep (someone) under (one's) thumb

To maintain authoritarian control over someone; to continually force someone to submit to one's will. They seem happy when they're out and about, but I hear that Johnny keeps his husband under his thumb at home. Although the job was well paying, I couldn't stand the way the boss kept me under his thumb.
See also: keep, thumb
References in periodicals archive ?
Asked about the secret to a long and happy marriage Jean said: "Keep them under your thumb!" And when daughter Sue said: "I think it's a bit of give and take", Jean added: "Yes, I give it and he takes it!" Sue added: "I think that's what they like about each other; they've always had a good sense of humour and they still do."