lay a hand on (one)

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lay a hand on (one)

1. To physically assault one. If you ever lay a hand on the children again, I will divorce you so fast it will make your head spin! I would never lay a hand on him!
2. To do harm to one's career or reputation. Despite his opponents' best efforts to use the scandal as a means of derailing his political career, they just couldn't seem to lay a hand on him. He bounced right back in the polls, with little to no loss in momentum among his supporters.
3. To successfully bring criminal charges against one; to convict one. Don't worry, there isn't any evidence linking you to the transaction, so the investigators won't be able to lay a hand on you. He warned them that if they tried to lay a hand on him or his family in court, he would use all of his vast resources to ruin them politically.
4. To be able to match one, as in a competition or contest. Spikerosoft developed their own gaming console to compete with the Friendtendo 65, but couldn't lay a hand on them in terms of sales. She's beloved within the community. There's no hope of laying a hand on her in an election.
See also: hand, lay, on
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
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