lead someone by the nose
lead (one) (around) by the nose
To exert a high degree of control over someone else. I can't stand the way your mother leads you around by the nose like that and tells you what to do!
lead someone by the noseor
lead someone around by the nose
If someone leads you by the nose or leads you around by the nose, they control you completely so that you do whatever they want. This nation has been led by the nose in foreign affairs. The Government has let itself be led by the nose by the timber trade. Note: This expression is used to indicate that the person or organization being controlled is weak. Note: Bulls and other animals sometimes have rings through their noses so that a rope can be tied to the ring in order to lead them along. This expression is used in Shakespeare's play Othello, when Iago says Othello `will as tenderly be led by the nose as asses are.' (Act I, Scene 3)
lead someone by the nosecontrol someone totally, especially by deceiving them. informal
The image here is of an animal being controlled by a restraint round or in the nose. Shakespeare used this expression in Othello ( 1604 ): ‘The Moor…will as tenderly be led by th'nose As asses are’.